Saturday, August 7

Hard Choices

Over a Chicken ala Kiev dinner at Classic Roast in Megamall a couple of nights ago, Vin, Dean and Gig grilled me on some hard choices.

Streetfighter or Tekken? Streetfighter, I'd have to say. The classic Capcom brawler is still the best, pound for pound, blow per blow.

PS2 or Xbox? DAMN this was hard. The PS2 had the numbers- the greater number of games and franchises, variety and star power. But the Xbox had Dead or Alive, and the library was getting better and better. I went with the future.

Videogames or Anime? Anime. No question. More often than not, I'd rather watch than play. Hmm. That sounded a bit naughty...

And of course... the clincher...

Angel or Kai?

Actually, this wasn't as hard as the other questions.

She's my lead heroine, my first baby and my golden girl... and while Angel will always have a special place in my heart, if I had to make a choice between one and the other, I'd take the angrier, more angsty, more tempermental, more fickle ninja girl.
Kai's adventures are darker and sexier, and she can go where Angel shouldn't or wouldn't go, and always looks great at it. While Angel is a bright, fun and colorful book you can open up anytime for a great read, Kai is a guilty-pleasure mag that you enjoy best in your favorite corner all by your lonesome. Heh.

And of course, I can share those guilty-pleasure adventures with readers in a few months, when we bring out K.I.A.. The book just came one step closer to becoming a reality. In about a month, after I finish the remaining art chores and production preparations, we'll be heading to the printers. WOOHOO!!!

As for the choices, I'm of course glad that they're all just hypothetical and I don't really need to choose between any of them. In these cases, I can have my cake AND my pie, and eat them as much as I want. HOHO.

Thursday, August 5

K.I.A. Update

A sample from the K.I.A. story "Zindernuef", with art by Taga-Ilog.

It's been a long time since the last K.I.A. update, but even with the delays the Angel Ace spinoff anthology is still on track for a late 2004 release. All the stories from contributors have been submitted, so we're now entering the production phase where we organize and edit the pages, prep them for printing and of course, bring together the moolah to pay for it. Hopefully we'll be seeing Kai's adventures in print in time for the next C3Con, if there is one, later this year.

Wednesday, August 4

Dubbing Duds

Last night, I was watching another english Getbackers episode on the now-english Animax and whomever operating the sound flubbed up so that the dialogue was delayed and off-cue by about 5 seconds.

Tonight, I watched an episode of the anime Stratos 4. And I have to say... this has one of the worst english dubs I've ever heard.

Out-of-place accents ALL OVER THE PLACE. Southern accents. Bwookwyn accents. Why does one character sound like a mobster?

The female heroines don't sound like cute teens... they just sound like munchkins. One sounded like Laverne on helium. At some times, they just sound plain stupid. I actually think at least two characters were voiced by one actress, hence some exaggerated characterizations.

During an action scene, you can just plainly see that the actors can't manage to do the required voicework- their unconvincing grunts actually sound bored and random.

My gosh... If you're gonna replace the top-quality voices and acting of the original shows, at least do it with COMPETENT performers.

FEH. English Animax... sucks...
Only in Japan

Attack of the 50-foot ANIME Woman.

Can you believe there's actually a Yoshinoya videogame? YEP! There is. Apparently, this popular Japanese beef bowl restaurant became the subject of a game where you take the role of a Yoshinoya branch manager. Dubbed a 'Food Service Action Sim', gameplay in the Yoshinoya game includes managing the proper mix of ingredients that go into every bowl, and your clientele includes various quirky customers like grouchy old Japanese men, lovely ladies and pesky young 'uns. Hmmm. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Another funny game that probably will never see light outside of Nippon is The Daibijin (or 'Giant Beautiful Woman'). Apparently the game is about how a 17-year old Japanese girl is zapped by an alien and starts growing to gigantic proportions. Now, the bikini-clad giantess is rampaging across Japan, and YOU have to stop her, using tanks, jets and other munitions. However, it certainly would not be proper to blast a cute young lady (no matter how gigantic) with bullets and bombs, so instead you'll use special weapons that generate rocking music, or materialize huge pieces of cake before her... I am not making this up... Soon however, you'll have to find a way to reverse the growth and defeat the evil alien responsible for this crisis.

Of course, this game is produced by publisher D3, which is famous for the infamous (but quite prolific) "Simple Series" of games, all of which star scantily-clad anime girls.
You can see a trailer (you know you want it) of this surreal game at the publisher's website here.
From Terminatrix to Vampiress

According to news, actress Kristanna Loken, who played the steel-cold T-X in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, will be donning the leather outfit and wrist-blades of Bloodrayne in the movie of the same name. Based on a recent hit videogame, Bloodrayne is a half-vampire assassin who battles Nazis and their supernatural experiments. In the movie version, Bloodrayne will be hunting down the Lord of the Vampires (who may or may not be Dracula). The film starts shooting this October, and should hit theaters more or less the same time the next Bloodrayne game hits consoles.

Tuesday, August 3

Clearing House, Part Deux

It's really fun to move things about in your own personal space. The end goal of course is to make things seem more ordered and neater than when you started, and when it's all over there's nothing nicer than to just lean back in a chair or on the bed and marvel at how order has triumphed over chaos.
In the aftermath of my TV acquisition, things were in turmoil. The 29-inch newcomer turned out to be thicker than the shelf space where it was supposed to go, so we couldn't just hoist it up and say 'Yay!' right away. Luckily, the TV came with a nice TV stand which was build specially for the set. After my brother assembled the stand, the TV fitted onto the top like a hand into a glove. Better yet, there was space beneath in the stand for both my Xbox and my PS2. The stand also had wheels so you could move it around easily- which was good since there were tons of connections I had to attach to the rear. It took some wire-traffic work, but finally I was able to organize stuff so I could easily switch between DVD, Gaming and VCD with little trouble.
The rest of the room had to be cleared, so I took out a few more things... like oh, stacks and stacks of old Diamond Previews which my mom eventually had given to the local municipal library- I think the kids will enjoy the art. The anime VHS and various VCDs went into boxes and are destined for garage sales. Various Playstation discs were given off for kids of my mom's friends, or sold to a gamebooth near my parent's workshop. With the sheer amount of stuff I was able to remove, The Sanctum now feels a little bit looser. I was able to shift stuff around and give stuff their own dedicated spots instead of just squeezing them all in little tight spaces.

Still, this is actually all temporary. We're actually planning on adding more shelves and cabinets, and giving the TV a more permanent space near the original spot. It will entail actual hammer-and-saw construction work, coats of paint and serious carpentry stuff I know nothing about, but in the end that should make The Sanctum look a lot better. Perhaps not as great as a place worked over by those gay guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but better nevertheless.

But that's a challenge for another day.

Yesterday Animax started their english era of anime. This seems to go for all the primetime series, though some shows like Lamu the Invader Girl are still in Japanese. I was able to watch an episode of the english-dubbed Getbackers, and I have to say... it's not as bad as I thought.
Still, while Getbackers has a decent cast of voice actors who try their best, they don't quite get the personalities and quality of the emotions in the original Japanese dub. More often than not, the characters are a bit off- a Ginji's a bit too goofy, Ban's not macho enough, Kadzuki's too masculine, Shido's not hard enough, Jackal's not creepy enough... or worse, sound too muck alike. The female characters fare better on the most part. But at least the lines are decent.

I guess I can get used to it... of course, I still prefer the Japanese original dialogue. That's the purist otaku in me talking. On the other hand, I guess a lot more people can watch the show easier. There's always anime VCDs and DVDs for me to turn to when one can't stands no more.

Sunday, August 1

The Big Picture

I just took impulse buying to a whole new level, I think.

I bought a new TV.

Well, really, it's not like I just saw a nice TV and thought out of the blue "I want a new TV!" and just bought it. No. Not really. In fact, I've actually been thinking of getting a new set for quite some time now. For the past few months I've been looking around at appliance and electronics stores. I've even asked about getting a big-ass, widescreen TV from The Docks down at Old Manila. I've heard you can, if you're lucky, get big-screen Japanese surplus TVs for a song. But then, I didn't know spit about anything in that quarter, and as my brother said, "You get what you pay for." So, it wasn't really a realistic option to take.
So, when I finally saw a nice, fairly big FLATSCREEN TV yesterday that I could actually afford, I was ready to go for it.

Since it would be pretty awkward, not to mention really morale-breaking, to plunk down almost 30K in cash right there and then, I planned on using a credit card. My mom's, actually, since she had more credit than I had. I'd just pay her the installments, she gets extra points or rebates for using her card, we (more I than anything else) get a big-ass new TV. Everyone's happy!
Better yet, we turned it into a family outing- My brother, his kids, my mom and me packed ourselves into my sister's utility vehicle (which was luckily available) and we were off to Megamall. While we were waiting for the whole transaction to be completed, we gaped slack-jawed at a HUGE Plasma Widescreen Monitor that showed a crystal-clear picture with FLAWLESS color... and it should, considering it cost a mere Php 372,000.00. OUCH.
After we were done, I treated my folks to dinner at President's, the excellent Chinese restaurant on the 4th Floor. After dinner, we loaded up the new acquisition and headed off home.

It took my Don Bosco-alumnus bro about a half hour to assemble the TV stand, and the TV fit on like a plug into a socket. Perfect! A few seconds later, we turned it on and VOILA... A new world of entertainment. Well, really, what difference could 4 inches make, you could ask (my old TV's a 25-incher). Well, a lot, really. And the TV's flat screen really does make for a clearer picture. Better yet, games on the Xbox and PS2 should look awesome (I've already tried DOA3... MY GOSH!)... especially when I get games like Dead or Alive Ultimate, King of Fighters Maximum Impact and Tekken 5 on it in the coming months. Gaming bliss.

All things said and done, it's just a little thing. But really, it's these little things that make the difference sometimes. Heh.
Clearing House

Sundays usually brings out the busybody in me. What often happens is that I try to reorganize The Sanctum into a more spacious, manageable formation.

Well, today I actually opened up the lower cabinets- an underworld abyss where I cast all my old VHS tapes, Playstation games, VCDs and PC CDs. My own mini-ubliette, I guess. It was a daunting and intimidating sight... PILES and piles of hard, solid masses that seemed immoveable from their stronghold. Many times I opened up the cabinet before and gave up after a long struggle, not knowing where to deposit the stuff. Packing it in plastics and just dumping it somewhere was awkward. Even just grouping the stuff was a feat in frustration. It was like corruption in government. A plastic skeleton in my closet.

But somehow I had the strength this day. I got three boxes and filled them up with all the stuff I wanted to liquidate- TONS and TONS of anime VHS tapes, piles of movie and game CDs, and HUGE masses of plastic bags.

Looking at it all, I was totally horrified at the amount of junk. But then, this was the result of years- years of buying VHS anime in Greenhills, years of getting bootleg movie VCDs from sidewalk vendors (this was the time before DVDs became in vogue) and years of accumulating and accumulating, stockpiling, amassing and collecting.

It felt good to finally organize it all and deposit them into boxes and get them out of my room. Sorta like an enema. A stomach pump. An exorcism. Painful but it does you good.

Gimli and the Witch King of Angmar at a recent cosplay event in Megamall.

Last night I hied over to Mega after a Greenhills foray to catch my college friend Alex compete in a cosplay event at the Megamall skating rink. It was cool seeing Lex as Gimli the dwarf from Lord of the Rings, along with a couple of Uruk Hai and the Witch King sliding along the ice alongside a crowd of anime characters. Otherwise though, the turnout of competitors was slim pickings... nothing really stood out- lots of Naruto characters (a popular ninja-themed anime) and Ragnarok. When the best-looking costume is from a crappy anime such as Cyber Team in Akihabara, you really can't say the show was too exciting. Oh well.
Alex got into cosplaying only recently, after he tasted the limelight and won eighth place in a Toy Con competition. Now he seems to be dead-set on making cosplay a serious hobby. Born for the stage, he is! Heh. Good luck, pal. Make me proud.
In the Service of the Filipino Comic Reader!

Woofy has set up a new blog called the Filipino Comics Portal that's dedicated to updates and news about local Filipino comics. Check it out for detailed news on local indie comics, zines and events. Nice idea, Woofy! You can also reach it via my Links at the side.