Saturday, July 12

New Manga Project!

Bespectacled, mild-mannered Jin Dragu and Red-haired Mikoto are the leads of my new manga project, Kunoichi Shonen! (Kunoichi Boy!)

Opposites Attack! Mikoto is very physical in her appearance and personality. Jin is more unassuming, quiet and passive.

When Jin dons the Pink Ninja costume he almost becomes another person.

It sounded crazy when I first thought about it, but now after thinking through the story, drawing the characters and standing back a bit, it now seems to be the start of a really FUN action adventure ninja series with a twist. What I can probably describe as Ninja Scroll meets Ranma 1/2, my new title Kunoichi Shonen (or simply Kunoichi Boy) chronicles the saga of the world's first male kunoichi (ninja woman).

This is my first manga project since Angel Ace that actually stars a MALE lead (even though he'll be dressed as a girl half the time). It is also probably my most Japanese-themed title. I'm aiming more for a fun, fantasy world-type with various elements thrown in as opposed to going for authenticity. So that pretty much means you can expect everything from cyborgs to armored knights to dragons and whatever-comes-to-mind to show up in any of the pages. Combat and tactics, special techniques and quirky strategies will play a major part in the story.

I'm really excited about this project, and it's actually pretty much in the pipes. We'll see how far we can take it.

Friday, July 11

Upcoming Flicks

There are quite a few good action-adventure films here or coming up in the next few weeks prior to the 'biggies' like Return of the King or Matrix Revolutions. Hope to catch 'em all...
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is the latest installment of the OTHER man vs. machine franchise. It stars, once again, Arnold Schwarzenegger as an old model Terminator sent back in time to protect the human race from a similarly-transported EVIL terminator. Unfortunately, this time around the bad guy's a girl- a Terminatrix, or T-X to be exact. MAJOR action and carnage is expected all around. I've heard good things about this film from a couple of friends who've already seen it. Have to say I really wasn't interested in this flick some time ago. Now I want to see it. Bad.
Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl is a swashbuckling adventure starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush. It has cannon battles, swordfights, babes in corsets, undead pirates, pirate gold and everything a growing boy needs. Don't know yet when this flick hits theaters here in Manila, but I am a-waiting...
Tomb Raider 2: Cradle of Life has totally underwhelmed me with it's boring trailer. But this sequel DOES have Angelina Jolie, whom I'd pay to watch even if she's just having a pedicure... so... Oh well.

Will try to get to see T3 over the weekend, by hook or by crook. Maybe the DVD pirates have a couple of the other films in stock already... Heh...

Thursday, July 10

Anime Pick: Louie the Rune Soldier

A humorous fantasy action adventure awaits with Louie and his babes!

Another cool anime I was able to acquire and watch recently is Louie the Rune Soldier. Seen the first two episodes, and I think this one's a winner like Scrapped Princess.
Set in a D&D type fantasy world, the adventure begins with a trio of female adventurers; Genie is the Kanna Kirishina lookalike who's the team's buffed-up swordswoman, Merill is the cute, underaged, knife-throwing thief and Melissa is a high-ranked priestess. Their party however is missing a mage, so when they meet a roadblock in the form of a magically-sealed door, they set out to find a female wizard to join their company. Unfortunately, all the women wizards in the area are little more than library-lurking dandies. In fact, the only mage willing to go with them is a MAN. His name is Louie, a musclebound goof who's prone to drinking, brawling, offending girls and getting into more trouble than his inadequate magic skills can handle. Yep, in terms of D&D stats, Louie is probably a magic-user with 12 or so INT, and 18(50) STR. Which pretty much means that he's more used to using his fists for punching and his wand for bashing instead of spellcasting. So it's quite understandable that the girls back away from Louie as fast as they can kick him.

But by a quirk of destiny and a seemingly mistaken command from Melissa's god, Louie suddenly becomes the priestess' champion, whom she must serve without fail from now on. Thus Louie eventually does get to adventure with the girls. And incredibly enough, despite his incompetence and horrible magic skills, he just MAY turn out to be a hero after all... or not.

This is a fun, hilarious series that can boast of pretty and colorful visuals, some slick animations and an interesting premise. It's great to see the characters bicker and bash, and Louie's a likeable oaf. Character designs are slightly derivative, but that's to be expected since this series is from Ryo Mizuno, the same creator as the ultra-serious Record of Lodoss War. It's a refreshing change though. Not as wacky as Slayers, but laugh-out-loud funny at times. For lots of beautiful anime babes, two-fisted action and lots of cool D&D-themed adventuring, go on a journey with Louie the Rune Soldier.

Wednesday, July 9

Status Quo

A couple of days ago, I felt pretty depressed at my current state. Not that it was miserable; just that it may be wrong or slightly misplaced. However, it seems that I'm either unwilling or unprepared (or both) to make huge changes in how I am living right now. I'll just have to settle with improving what we have right at present. So I've got to keep taking my vitamins, wake up on time and get to work at a reasonable hour, give what's due at the proper time and manner and keep fresh by thinking clearly and being the good ol' normal 'me' for the next couple of months.
Then, if things don't change... maybe something has to be forced to change.

Tuesday, July 8

TV Food

Just saw an episode of Survivor: Africa on AXN. A reward challenge was held with a full lunch at stake. The food consisted of scrumptious-looking sandwiches, chips, cookies and cans of ice-cold Mountain Dew. It's made all the more appetizing by the starved stares of desire the contestants are giving the chow, the groans of hunger they make as host Jeff Probst describes the various victuals. Darn. If I didn't just have an upset stomach a little while ago, I'd be hankering for some eats right now... Mmm....
Questor Mangamania #3

I went out to look for a copy of Hainaku! #3, and came back to the office with the third issue of Questor Extreme Mangamania instead. The sister-magazine and manga anthology of the best-selling local manga and anime mag Questor, QEMM comes with four stories of varying genres; the bishoujo-type (girls' comics) romance-comedy-drama Free Spirits by Benedict Bartolome(story) and Vincent John Bernales(art); the comedy-action romp Sidesweepers by Bebert Lacuna, Igor Cabbab(story) and Roland Amago(art) which follows the adventures of futuristic sanitation police force; the supernaturally-themed Cante Ista, with story by David Hontiveros and art by Franklin Quano and Peter Go; and last but not least, the sequel to the well-known Voltez V, the mecha action title Camp Big V by Benedict Bartolome(story) and Kriss Sison(art).
As before, my comments are that it's often hard to distinguish where a story ends and begins, thanks to the light grey tones of the pages. Other than that, the stories appeal to me depending on my interest- Free Spirits, despite being light on action and fan service, is interesting once I get to read it. Cante Ista has great art, but the arcane text and terms lose me... it's vague, but may be rewarding eventually. Right now, it's just too mental. I have to say that I was never a big fan of Voltez V (HERETIC!) but I am interested in seeing how Questor handles this 'sequel' (IS it really a licensed story? No one seems to know yet...). I find the shift from a dramatic action series to a light, humor-filled show ala Gatekeepers is pretty jarring. Anyway, the art is good, with cute faces and well-done mecha designs. Finally, Sidesweepers strikes me as the messiest (which is ironic given that it's about sanitation experts) in terms of art, panelling, dialogue and story. Oh well.

Can't wait for Hainaku to hit the shelves. Want to do more manga. Draw more art. Write more stories. More. MORE. MOOOOOREE!!!! Sigh. Gotta get back to Angel soon...

Sunday, July 6

New Anime Pick: Scrapped Princess

Scrapped Princess is a nice, new quality anime series worth checking out.

I picked up a load of anime yesterday. I've had the chance to watch the first couple of episodes of Scrapped Princess, a new series from Studio Bones(Rahxephon, Wolf's Rain). The story centers on 15-year old Pacifica Casull, a pretty blonde and blue-eyed teen who seems pretty normal. She's a bit spoiled but shy, well-mannered but mischievous, and still learning of love, crushes and life in general. While she would rather want a normal (and at least comfortable) life than anything else, this seems far from reality since she is the one known as the "Scrapped Princess" (or abandoned princess). As dictated by the absolute god Mauser, the SP will, when she turns 16, cause disaster for the world.
To this end, Pacifica was supposedly slain when she was but a baby. Somehow though, she fell into the care of the Casull family, and raised to her present age of 15. Now, she's on the run for her life with her loving stepsiblings. Stepbrother Shannon is a highly-skilled swordsman, while his twin sister Raquel is a magic-user of incredible power. Together, the older Casull siblings watch over and protect Pacifica from hunters and assassins sent by the royal family; notably the members of The Obstinate Arrow, a special military unit. Is Pacifica really destined to cause ruin to the world? Can Shannon and Raquel protect her from the hateful forces that wish her dead? But with Pacifica's ominous destiny hovering over their heads, are they doing the right thing, or endangering the world with their love?
Scrapped Princess has an intriguing premise, and the series is executed with a light but often melancholy mood, interspersing sadness with kindness, hope and determination. Pacifica herself wonders if it would be better if she just died, yet she continues to live thanks to her siblings' utmost faith in her and in the belief that she could never truly hold evil within herself.

The animation is fairly good, with clean, simple but likeable character designs that are more realistic and natural than your average anime (Pacifica actually has small breasts!). Combat and action doesn't seem to be the main point, but when action happens it's cool to see Shannon and Raquel kick butt. As for fan service, there seems to be an abundant amount of scenes with Pacifica bathing, or the girls taking a swim (Yep, this fantasy world has swimsuits and bikinis). Nothing too raunchy or ecchi though.
This series is story and character-driven, with a slow, deliberate pace that seems to revel in revealing the vague plot little by little. There are light moments but the comedy doesn't seem to be wacky or too physical or reliant on SD expressions. For a somewhat unusual and fresh fantasy-drama series that's not all dragonslaying or fireballs, Scrapped Princess may be a nice gem to check out if you can. Find this in better-stocked anime stores in the Metro.