Saturday, October 4

The Eyes Have It

Yesterday I went to Vision Express in Megamall to get myself a new pair of specs. I had my eyes examined, chose to get a more expensive but thinner glass lens, and then started picking a frame. The attendant showed me several small-eyed frames that looked cool... in some cases too cool (I looked like I was auditioning for The Matrix TV series... or for the role of a drug dealer). There was one frame that I liked simply because it was so loose (my present frame is biting into my temples since it is so tight). I was told that this pair had flexible stems- there was a kind of hinge at the spot where the stems connect to the lens, and it moved to accomodate your headshape. TOO COOL! That was, until I learned how much it was... Php4,400!!! GAAAAHHH!!!
I eventually settled on a nice, loose frame of just 2K. Anyway, I should be getting my new pair in a couple of weeks. So much for the 'One Hour-glasses' schtick.
"Dumating... na sila..." (Arrived have them...)

Maya comes armed with both sword and spirit to aid her in her quest.

I first heard of Anito by Anino Entertainment ( when I heard a CG cinema character speak in tagalog on TechTV's Extended Play when they showed a feature about independent game developers. It's been quite a while since that time, and thankfully these guys didn't just vanish into the ether. The game, perhaps the first serious Filipino-made fantasy RPG game for the PC, is coming.
Anito is set in Maroka, a world that is similar to 16th century Asia, with a Philippines-like archipelago populated by various tribes and dangerous beasts. Looming over all is the threat of invasion by armor-clad foreigners, of course modelled from Spanish conquistadores. This one-player, isometrically-inclined RPG-action game puts players in the shoes (or in this case, bare feet) of one of two characters.

Agila is a strong warrior he-man type who can use a spear and a bow, while comely Maya is the lass who can both slash with a sword AND use magic (or spirit power). Both characters have individual quests, though their storylines will apparently intertwine at various points. Aside from killing monsters like Tikbalang, Sigbin and such, you will have to solve some puzzles and try to complete the various tasks in the game. The more of the game you complete, the better your ending.

Probably similar in play and feel to games like Diablo, this should appeal to fantasy gamers who are looking for something different. The Pinoy element is a welcome one, and it should be quite a kick hearing tagalog-accented voiceovers (something I have heard only once before in a videogame, namely in Tao Feng for the Xbox) at the very least.

Anito is set for release for the PC in late November. You can visit their official website and read up about the game, see some cool wallpapers (the one of sexy Maya is available as a nice poster with the latest copy of Summit's Games Master magazine), screenshots and some more goodies. I'll be looking for this one when it comes out.

Friday, October 3

A Bloody Anime Classic

Yet to be equalled or surpassed.

Last night I got my own original copy of the Ninja Scroll 10th Anniversary DVD. It's a double-sided DVD that has two remastered versions; one fullscreen and one widescreen. The extras aren't anything to write home about (but I can blog about it); a few interviews and character data that you can pretty much figure out from watching the anime yourself. Oh, and a nice poster.
Of course, the treasure in this disc is Ninja Scroll itself. Even now after a decade, the animation and action still stands well, even in the light of Studio Madhouse's recent release, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Scenes like the initial ambush/ninja massacre are still as hard-hitting as ever, and the characters of Jubei, Kagero and the Eight Devils of Kimon are still as deadlysexycool as ever.
The movie also makes glaringly clear how lacking the new Ninja Scroll TV series is. Oh well. Anyway, I've been holding out on getting NS on VCD or bootleg DVD for some time now; this is the best version you can get of this bloody great anime. Got to watch it and savour the gore soon. Heh.

Thursday, October 2


It's October already, and I have two big deadlines in the comic world pending. One concerns my work in the Project 100 group work, in which I have to do two 10-page stories. The other of course is my own Angel Ace Next, which looks to explode to a whopping 80-page size. I've got three guest artists, a lot of pinups and art to put together and full color covers to fashion.
BOTH deadlines are at the end of October, for a hopeful release before Christmas.
If it seems much, that's because it IS. But it's possible, make no mistake. I just have to give it it's due time and just DO it.

Big pay offs await the brave and the bold. Nothing awaits those who do nothing.
Time Trip

Today I went off to be introduced along with the rest of our team in the agency to client. We drove to a building in Makati that seemed to have stopped in the 1940s. I mean, everything in the place seemed OLD, but in a good way; old like a museum. From the antique elevators with knobs and switches, to the hallways with their World War II-era architecture... Even the conference room and comfort rooms looked like they were out of a period flick like Pearl Harbor. I was thinking that everything should be in black and white while we were in that place. It just seemed right. Heh.
Post Apocalyptic Retro Movie

Just saw the OLD, old Jean-Claude Van Damme flick, Cyborg on Cinemax. It's one of the first from the master of martial arts camp, telling of a future world ravaged by disease and killer street gangs. Van Damme plays a man named Gibson, a bounty hunter or slinger who is hunting down a mutant gangleader named Fender. The titular cyborg is a woman named Pearl who carries information that may lead to a cure for the world plague. Fender captures Pearl and intends to take her to her destination; a secret lab in Atlanta, to find the 'treasure' she promises is waiting for him. Meanwhile, Gibson is on their trail, thirsting for long-awaited revenge- and not even hordes of brutal gangmembers will stop the Muscles from Brussels.
This is a film that's pretty much made up of a seemingly non-ending stream of fights as Van Damme battles thug after thug after thug. The script is pretty basic, with evil Fender basically saying orders like "GO!" or "Waste him!" while the rest of his crew just make do with grunts and screams like "AAAAUUUUGGHHH!!!" or "RRAAAHHHHH!!!"... which is most of Van Damme's dialogue as well.
I have to say though that the guy who plays the Fender is probably one of the scariest and most irritatingly evil-looking baddies you'll see onscreen.
Cyborg is pretty dumb but satisfying fun; pretty much as close to a Final Fight beat 'em up videogame turned movie. Heh.

Wednesday, October 1

Dead or Alive Online at TGS2003

Tecmo's Team Ninja goes semi-retro with a refurbished, redone, rejuvenated DOA2 and Saturn DOA, renamed Dead or Alive Online.

It's been quite some time now since Tecmo of Japan announced their upcoming games in their flagship Dead or Alive fighting game franchise. Whereas the last released game was an odd sports/fanservice spinoff (DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball), the new games promise to be squarely in the beat 'em up genre.
First and most obvious is of course Dead or Alive Online, an exclusive Xbox title which takes the settings, character lineup, moves from Dead or Alive 2 and gives them the Xbox makeover. The characters look even better than those in the Xbox launch title Dead or Alive 3, and the stages have been given even more special effects, such as more environmental elements. Stages were seen amidst a raging lightning storm and rainfall, showers of cherry blossom petals and light snowfall.
The latest trailers shown at this year's TGS 2003 arcade show in Japan revealed even more of the game, including new costumes for the characters such as Kasumi's Xbox costume and Tina Armstrong's quite outrageous wrestling champion outfit complete with an American flag as a cape/coat.
The trailer also showed a new version of the 'cloning sequence' where ninja heroine Kasumi is shown floating in a tube of green liquid, sans clothing (it's blurred though).

Aside from the re-invented Dead or Alive 2, DOAO will also contain the full version of the original Saturn DOA... while an excellent game in it's time, now it's pretty dated. Still, it should be cool to see the classic brawler again. Though my time will most probably be occupied with seeing the new DOA2- and hopefully seeing lots of sexy costumes this time around. Of course, DOAO will work primarily with the Xbox Live component, allowing gamers from all over the world battle each other online. A single player or home game will most probably allow offline fighting. Also speculated is the possibility of downloading new costumes and perhaps even stages from the net, or from free discs in the Official Xbox Magazine.
Aside from DOAO, Tecmo is also developing a mysterious title known as DOA Code Chronos, a proper Dead or Alive 4, Ninja Gaiden and a sequel to DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball.

Lots of bouncy, sexy action next year, looks like. WOOHOO!!!


My hand slipped, and it fell a bit to the floor. Not slammed, but fell.

That will teach me to bring it inside the bathroom.

No scratches...

Is it my imagination, or does it feel a bit... not like before? Just my imagination.



Anyway, I finally was able to configure my phone's WAP functions. I simply went to the Sony Ericsson Mobile website, pit my data in the handy-dandy Configurator (Heh) and waited for the SMS message that would do all the work for me. VOILA! My phone's now a WAP-capable animal. The most obvious thing to get out of it is downloads. I have been able to upload and then download my own pictures, wallpapers (and perhaps someday even screensavers) to my li'l T68i, and it's BLISS! You can tell it's my phone since it's probably the only one with Angel Ace images. And a lot of Dead or Alive and other game/anime pics. COOL! HAHAHAHA!!!
Of course, it also makes the phone guzzle credit like crunchy chicharon. Darn, I must have spent over a hundred pesos just downloading stuff yesterday.

Worth every peso, though. WOOOHOOO!!! Damn I love my new toy. Gotta take better care of it from now on.

Gah. The next thing you know, I'll be wearing it from a chain at my belt. GAK.
Belated Happy Birthday to...

... THIS BLOG! Yep, about a year ago, I started posting my intimate thoughts, daily schedules, anime reviews, movie rants and food decisions here on Stark Raving Mad. I've had good times, bad times, weird times and more here, and hopefully I'll have a lot more days, weeks and months of madness to come.

Tuesday, September 30

The Trailer of the King

Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) reclaims his big-ass sword to whup some orc.

The trailer to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King can now be downloaded online from the Apple Movie Trailers page.
What can I say about it? It's got TONS of scenes, with the two minute or so spot going by in a tantalizing wave. There are scenes of Frodo, Samwise and Gollum, Aragorn wielding Narsil, Gandalf riding the field, Eowyn in disguise, Arwen and Elrond, Galadriel, Merry and Pippin, Legolas kicking orc arse, Eomer screaming in anguish, Oliphaunts charging, Fell-beasts diving, armies gathering... ARGH! The only gripe I have though is that the music in the Two Towers seemed to raise the hairs on the back of my neck better than the ROTK trailer. But DAMN, am I stoked to watch this one!
December 17 can't come quick enough. Of course, we poor Pinoys have to wait for January before we see this awesome finale... or at least the bootleg DVD release. Heh.

What are you waiting for? Download ROTK greatness now!!!

Monday, September 29

Fan service Fighting Anime

Ikkitousen's heroine is 17-year old Sonsaku Hakufu, who's as fearless as she is clueless.

I was finally able to watch 8 episodes of the new fighting/fanservice anime Ikkitousen yesterday. It's an action-packed, bloody re-telling of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms saga, complete with warring fiefdoms, cunning warlords and loyal warriors, brutal battles and revenge. But it's not set in ancient China.
Nope! Ikkitousen is set in a modern-day Japan. In place of kingdoms there are warring high schools. The battling warlords and warriors, known as 'champions', are high school students (both male and female) bearing megatama- soulstones that contain the powers and destinies of the legendary fighters. Brawling all over the city, the youths battle for supremacy, reliving history and fighting their way to supremacy.
The main character of the series is scatterbrained (she IS quite dumb) seventeen-year old Sonsaku Hakufu, a pretty, athletic and well-endowed girl who loves to fight. When she transfers to her new high school, Nanyou High, she is told by her very odd mother (who loves to flirt with young men and is a bit of a sadist) to rule the land and subdue all her enemies. Oh-Kay!
It really is a mark of Hakufu's dumbness that she finds nothing wrong with this 'mission' and immediately picks fights the minute she arrives at school. However, there IS indeed a conflict brewing in the city, and evil plots are being cooked up to sieze power. Hakufu, despite her amateur skills, has a frightening potential power within her than immediately puts her at the center of the maelstrom. Soon, she has to fight many powerful opponents and try to survive as she little by little (she IS very dumb, after all) finds out the destiny that's laid out before her.
Accompanying and protecting Hakufu is her cousin and childhood friend Syuyu Koukin, a more-or-less normal young man who has to deal with his suddenly-desirable cousin's appearance and interest in combat, as well as Hakufu's mom who suddenly moves in the house with them as well. Koukin is at first seemingly a pacifist, but when need be he can kick serious butt as well.
Other characters include the Four Great Fighters of Nanyou; Gakusho is a HUGE, musclebound bruiser who inexplicably wears a hairband and loves sweets. Saju Genpou is the token womanizer. Kannei is a vicious drooling creep and the lead henchman of Nanyou's enigmatic, unseen leader. And finally, there's Ryumou Shimei, or Mou-Chan, an eyepatch-wearing, french maid outfitted femme fatale who looks like a cross between Ayanami Rei from Evangelion, Meia Gisborn from Vandread and Royce Gracie.

While she isn't the main heroine of the series, our favorite in Ikkitousen is Ryumou Shimei, or Mou-chan. She's a sexy submission fighter whose provocative moves would make Tekken's Nina Williams blush.

Many more characters, both benign and malignant, populate Ikkitousen, most of whom also take the names of powerful warriors and generals from the Three Kingdoms period. The large amount of names being thrown around may lead to some confusion, but in the end you really don't have to take it all too seriously.
That's because Ikkitousen is really just a comedic, fanservice-laden turn-off-your-brain action show. In fact we WILL have to caution that the fanservice here is borderline hentai, with female fondling, near-nudity and even sex scenes (although not explicit or at least tastefully done) commonplace. Each female character has the requisite panty-shot camera angle treatment, and these girls don't have much modesty. They also wear clothing that seems to disintegrate with the slightest hit (the men's clothing isn't as delicate though). As for the violence, there's quite a lot of blood spattering, bone-breaking and smashing with both male and female characters, though so far fatalities haven't happened yet.

In the end, I find myself liking Ikkitousen, in the same way I did Agent Aika. The fighting scenes kick ass, the story does seem to be going somewhere, the character designs are well done and the animation is fair. And you really have to love an anime that really takes its grappling holds seriously. Mou-chan rocks! Heh.

Sunday, September 28

A New Toy.

Unexpectedly, abruptly, I suddenly had my hands on this little gizmo.

It's a Sony Ericsson T-68i, a nice little mobile phone that's at least 25 percent smaller than my old, old Siemens M35i. It's lighter and has a nice metallic chrome top, and feels light yet firm in the palm of my hand. It's got a COLOR screen, so I can finally say goodbye to monochromatic displays. AH! Now I know how it feels, Flim.

I went to Greenhills to look around and relax, and after getting a bunch of anime VCDs I suddenly had the yearning to just get myself a new phone. Despite having various models like the Nokia 3650, the Sony Ericsson T610 or P800, or any of the upcoming nextgen models running around in my head, I finally just settled for a good, nice, feature-packed, compact and inexpensive model.

In the end, it was necessity that dictated my decision, not a desire for cool, hi-tech features that would be nice but extravagant, or the desire for something that will blow everyone away. And the price (perhaps a third of what I would spend on the hi-tech models) was a winner, given that I have other expenses to think of.
I guess my purchase was caused by an incident that happened yesterday; I was working and had to call someone... my old phone went low-bat and failed me. That, I think, made me decide that I had to get a new and more reliable phone.

And so here it is. I like it, and I am staring at my new toy constantly. I've already inputed my numbers and even set up the voice dialling for fun. I even got a new belt clip holster.

As for my old phone, as I said, it's going to rest in the Sanctum until it's services are needed again someday like an old vet in an action movie. Sigh.