Saturday, September 27


From Battle Royale to Kill Bill. Young Japanese teenstar Chiaki Kuriyama plays the deadly schoolgirl assassin, Go Go Yubari.

The fourth Quentin Tarantino film is coming, and it's bloody. The flick's title is Kill Bill, and it's a martial arts/swordfighting/revenge extravaganza which pits a lone female heroine played by Uma Thurman against a host of deadly foes. Her goal: well... to KILL BILL.
Basically, Uma plays a former assassin and member of a squad called DIVAs (Hey, reminds me of my own SIVA) known only as The Bride. When she decides to call it quits and settle down, the wedding gift she gets from her former comrades is a hail of bullets. The Bride is left for dead, but of course sits up in her hospital bed years later. Now she's packing a sword and leaving dismembered corpses in her wake.
The trick is, this movie got too long for it's pants and is now split into TWO installments. Kill Bill Volume 1 is coming this October, while Volume 2 will slash into theaters in early 2004.
Aside from Uma, big names in the cast include Daryl Hannah, Viveca Fox, Michael Madsen, Lucy Liu and David Carradine.

Some nice touches in the film are an anime sequence done by Production IG (Ghost in the Shell) which relates the origin of Lucy Liu's O-Ren character, and the casting of young Japanese actress Chiaki Kuriyama as a cute and deadly schoolgirl assassin. Miss Kuriyama should be familiar to anyone who watched that BLOODY good Japanese film Battle Royale, where she played the memorable jogger princess/man killer Chigusa. WOOHOO! Can't wait for this movie. Heh.
FFVII: The Movie is coming!

Cloud and Sephiroth are due for a reunion in 2004...

Some time ago, there was news about a 'return to Final Fantasy VII', and it was speculated by many that a long-delayed sequel to the game may be in the works. Now, it seems that there WILL indeed be a return to the world of Midgar, however not in the way gamers were expecting.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a fully-CG, direct to DVD movie that will be released in Japan in 2004. The story is set in the world of FFVII, a few years after the end of the game. A new danger has arisen, once again threatening the now-peaceful world. Now, the heroes who fought for that peace must once again raise sword and spell to save it.
So far little information has been released about the movie; the quality of the CG looks incredible, with more realistic and human-like versions of both hero Cloud Stryfe and villain Sephiroth being shown.

Wow. Finally, a real feature based on an existing Final Fantasy world and storyline. As a die-hard FFVII I'll be keeping my eyes out for this one.

I only hope it isn't another spiritualist sob-fest like that horrible, horrible Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie.
Saturday at the Salt Mines

I left at about ten or so in the morning to go to the office. We've got ads due for a client presentation early Monday morning, so it was unavoidable. GAH! And to think we only got the darn job on the tail end of last week. Wild stuff. Fingers crossed we'll be leaving the office with everything done and ready for crunch time next week. Sunday looks to be my funday once again, it seems. Will try to make it to Greenhills and get updated on the latest games, and perhaps pick up some new movies on DVD (I think Jason said the Japanese horror film JUON is already making the rounds). We'll see tomorrow.

I can blog again! YAY!

Something with Blogger got screwed up and I wasn't able to update for days. Finally, whatever was wrong got fixed up.
Anyway, had dinner last night at Port Area Grill near Wilson in Greenhills. Good food but it didn't make that good an impression to me thanks to some inept service and some drunken guy's gyrations (Don't ask).
Am at the office right NOW, doing overtime. Despite that, I feel okay. In fact, all's cool and well right now. Getting ready to start on pages for Project 100 and stuff for Angel Ace Next, plus I have plans for a nice Angel Ace spinoff in the works. Lots of stuff to catch up on here.

That's that for now. Gotta get to work. The faster I finish, the faster I get to have fun. Later then!

Thursday, September 25

Read or Die: TV series

I was finally able to watch the first two episodes of the Read or Die TV series a couple of nights ago.
Nenene Sumiregawa is a Japanese writer who is riding on the fame of her latest books. However, her latest works were written several years prior, and she hasn't been able to write since the disappearance of a close friend and inspiration of hers. Furthermore, her problems worsen when death threats arrive with explosive results. Soon, Ne finds herself in the company of the odd Paper Detective Sisters, a trio of young women who eventually reveal that beneath their quirky personalities, each of them is a paper-user, with the ability to bend and manipulate the white stuff with amazing results.

Taking off from the previously-released Read or Die OAV, the TV series seems more concerned with a more leisurely plot and lots of character development rather than the more heavy-handed world-crisis action adventure bent of the OAV. There's a bit of overkill in seeing the Sisters use their paper powers to catch up to an airliner on board a giant paper bird, cut open doors and walls with paper or make bomb-proof paper shields, since they're basically against a couple of crackpots instead of the regenerated super-geniuses in the OAV. Hopefully we'll be seeing more competent and powerful enemies for the Sisters to face in later episodes.
As for the characters, they are a diverse lot. Eldest sister Michelle seems sweet and accomodating, but there's a degree of craftiness in her and the readiness to choke or arm bar her younger siblings to do her bidding. Tall, lanky Ma-Nee is initially unfeminine, unattractive and seems to not have all the lights on in her house, so to speak, but her awesome 'paper animals' are probably the coolest powers in the series. Then there's the little spitfire, Anita, who despite being a bit of a brat may actually be the most sensible and good-hearted of the trio. Ironically, she also seems to be the 'shock trooper' of the group, charging in straight with her acrobatics while her sisters hang back. Finally, there's Nenene herself; a bespectacled, tough-as-nails, fearless, hot-tempered and quite sexy writing genius who doesn't bat an eye even when a bomb is placed on her fingertips. Ne apparently is a close friend of the OAV series' heroine, Yomiko Readman.
And speaking of Yomiko, there are quite a few teasing references to the original ROD heroine in the TV series. Will she appear in the flesh in later episodes? What is her tie to the Paper Sisters? Fans of the OAV will surely be watching later episodes just to see what develops.

Overall, ROD TV is quite well done. The animation quality is quite high for a TV production, mimicking quite closely the highs (bright colors, fantastic animation of the action scenes) and lows (some loss of resolution or detail in some parts) of the OAV animation. The story seems very leisurely and deliberate (to be blunt, SLOW) but there are signs of big payoffs later in the series. Fans of quirky, super-powered action adventure shows (ROD OAVs, Giant Robo) will do well to check this out.

Tuesday, September 23

Overtime, Twilight of Empires and Star Wars Spoofs

I'm still in the office as I am writing this; my first overtime at my new job. Not unexpected, really. Doing headlines, working out print ad ideas and concepts, writing more headlines. Had dinner a while ago with Vin and Jason at Megamall. Talked about stuff like Cherry Blossom High and The End of Twilight Empires (it does not end well, folks). Also talked a bit on Project 100. The best part was looking through a TON of Star Wars fan films and spoofs Jason collected on a CD, including a 5-minute flash version of Empire Strikes Back, a fan film featuring future Mrs. Skywalker Mara Jade and a funny short titled Death Star Repairmen. Have to remember to get myself a copy of those discs. Great stuff!
Hopefully I will be able to get home before morning and grab a bit of shut eye before having to come back here again. Ah, yes, the Grind is back.
Angel Ace Next

The scene that started it all.

I see Paris, I see France...

Guess how many ninjagirls are in this picture...

Some secrets about Kai and Angel's past will be revealed...

The Death Star's coming and Angel's fresh out of photon torpedoes.

Here are some sample inks from the next Angel Ace issue. Most of them are a part of the extensive recap section that starts off the book. Aside from that, there will be an 'epilogue' segment that reveals some events that happen immediately after the circus debacle, a scene involving series main villain Mondebaine Gallowglass and his minions, a flashback backstory to be drawn by Jon Mallari and another Angel Ace adventure to be illustrated by Honoel Ibardolaza of Homanga. Jon has been contributing stuff to the series since Angel Ace Again #1, while I've seen Honoel's brilliant art while collaborating with him on stuff for Hainaku and the upcoming Cherry Blossom High.
We're shooting for a release for Angel Ace Next this December. Cross your fingers! This is going to be fun. Heh.
The New Baywatch

Beautiful bodies, gross stuff. A perfect mix!

I hereby declare Fear Factor as the heir to the body-beautiful ogle-fest that was Baywatch. Every week, viewers are treated to a cast of model-gorgeous specimens doing demeaning stunts ranging from eating disgusting matter to balancing off beams hundreds of feet in the air.
While the gross-out eating challenges are pretty hypnotic to see, I'm pretty sure the main pleasure in this show is seeing the sexy female contestants bare down to their swimsuits for water-borne challenges. This week was especially packed with beauties; Miss USA pageant-quality beauties at that! The lineup of competitors consisted entirely of beauty pageant finalists, and not one but two of the challenges required the ladies to wear bikinis.
Who says the Japanese are the only ones who know fan service? Heh-heh. DAMN host Joe Rogan is one LUCKY bastard.

Where's Mitch Buchanan when you need him?!

Monday, September 22

Stuff I want but don't really need

Humans thrive on desire. I am no different, of course. In fact, I am probably driven by desire more than most. Anyway, I've decided to face my desire and expose them for how illogical and irrational they are! Haha!

A new-fangled, hi-tech phone. Expected expense: Php 20K.
I've been eyeing a new phone for the past few weeks. 3650s, 7250s, P800s, etc... I've never been more phone model-savvy than ever before. I want one of those camera phones with the color monitors, so I can revel in photos and take little snapshots for my blog or maybe even catch some drunken starlet with her pants down. Heh. I wanna be able to surf the internet on the bus or MRT, watch videos and download cool stuff in the CR. I want to record my own ringtone and hear my own voice call out 'May tawag!' when a phone call comes. I wanna have PDA settings so I can get my life into order somehow.
So many reasons, but all of the are actually pretty flimsy.
I already have a little digital camera I can bring anywhere. When I did bring it around, I hardly turned into a Japanese toursit, clicking away at everything that moves. If I get a camera phone, I don't think I would be any different. And these pics are SO low-res! They are probably best for putting portraits into your phonebook (which is cool, actually), and little else except maybe for blogs. It's just all about convenience, I guess. But then, having a little camera is cool, bottom line.
Surfing is best on a PC. I have Internet at home and at the office. Would I even try to surf in between? The P800 probably has the best phone-browsing interface; but at 30K or so, you can buy a pretty good PC with Internet! Would you spend the same thing for a dinky little screen just so you can surf in the 30 or so minutes that you commute? So, the internet thing isn't really useful- and I think it's also expensive.
As for the ringtone... Damn, you got me. I really like the idea of having personalized ringtones. Oh well. Heh.
So in conclusion: A new phone would be cool, but it really isn't a necessity...

Gameboy Advance SP. Expected expense: Php 7K.
This tiny, clamshell-compact version of the Gameboy Advance has tons of games, total portability, a built-in backlight that lets you play even in total darkness, and a battery life that's comparable to cellphones. It's probably the best you can get for real gaming on the go.
This is pretty irrational, and I don't need it at all. At home I would NEVER play this; I have a frickin' Xbox, Playstation 2, Dreamcast, Saturn and PC, for crying out loud. When commuting, I would probably rather snooze or think up comic ideas instead of playing dinky little games. The small screen would probably make me dizzy, too; I can't read while on a car... how would gaming affect me?
This is really an illogical, irrational buy, and I do honestly think that if I bought a GBA SP, I did so just for the fact that I was blown away by the thing's coolness and cuteness. Which is not really a good reason to spend money.
Conclusion: Play console games till my eyes bleed and thumbs crack, but buying a GBA SP would be a waste of money.

Cable Internet Expected expense: Php 2,500K a month.
I at first thought of this. Cable would be faster than any 56K connection. I'd be able to download videos like lightning, be able to download anime via bittorent or some other arcane means, and surf day or night as long as I want.
But the fact is, cable or DSL won't guarantee frustration-less surfing; I have Dean to attest to that. Plus, I am away from home more than half the day (and in that more than half, I have cable internet at the office), so what's the use paying for 24-hours round-the-clock access?
Conclusion: A waste of money. 56K is more than adequate, and Pre-paid cards give me more than enough hours that I can use when I need them.

AH! This feels good. I should be able to see through the haze of desire and be able to save my funding for really important things; like publishing the next Angel Ace issue. Just have to be strong though... before those cool next-gen phones show up... Yikes...
A New Week Looms

Went to Greenhills yesterday and got myself the First Season of Alias on DVD. That's 22 episodes of Jennifer Garner running full-tilt! WOOHOO! Wish I could find Dark Angel with luscious Jessica Alba as well. Anyway, I also got a copy of the 'camping trip to hell' movie Wrong Turn with Eliza Dushku (Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Bulletproof Monk.

On the anime side of things, I also got a DVD copy of Inu Yasha the Movie 2: Dream Castle in the Mirror, which is exceptionally well-subtitled. Also filling up the anime stockpile is a VCD of the first two episodes of Read or Die TV series; judging from how cool the OAV was, I am stoked to find out what the TV version will be like.
I'll try to squeeze in these vids along with work on Project 100, Angel Ace Next and the odd web project that's filling my plate these days.

Busy, busy, busy! Ah, yes we are alive and kicking. And getting kicked. WOOHOO!!!

Sunday, September 21


My traditional Greenhills foray was aborted because of a stinking traffic bottleneck at Santolan. It was getting late, so I went on to Megamall (make up for it tomorrow), to find Comic Quest crowded with the Bowling Alley comic people. Had dinner at the Food Park with Dean, Gig, Jason, El (whom I had seen before only online) and his girlfriend Camy (though she was unrecognizable without the beret, leotard and boots... Heh).
After closing down, I suggested a jaunt over to Rockwell's Fully Booked. Carl would meet us there. Gleefully, we escaped on board Jason's pickup and were off.

Fully Booked's stocks of comic trades was cool, but I eventually went off without buying any; though two Batgirl trades tempted me. Funny books of the night: A couple of children's books entitled Bible Baddies, and its sequel... MORE Bible Baddies. Heh. I eventually went off with two items; a copy of Hainaku 3 (which Dean found exiled to a lonely corner of the store) and a reference book on ancient Japanese costumes (which Jason convinced me was good reference for Kunoichi Boy... Sigh).

We eventually landed outside Starbuck's, amidst various food tents selling roast suckling pig, Greek gyros, stews and more. With music from a band playing in front of Monk's Dream, we played a game called Thingamajig and spent an hour or so laughing our heads off thinking up definitions and collecting little red chips.

After which, me, Dean, Jason and Dino called it a night. Vin, Gig and the 'kids' went off to sing.

Tomorrow's agenda: rest, a quick Greenhills trip and fixing up the Sanctum. Weekend's half done. Better enjoy what's left. Yawn.