Saturday, September 18


Right after lunch, instead of lolling aroung luxuriously in The Sanctum, I had to dress up so I could go with my sister and her kids. I had to have my PC fixed since it conked out a few days ago, apparently having a broken fuse or power supply. The PC is still my media center and art workstation, so I can't let it stay broken for long.
So I got to Greenhills at a relatively early time. The repairs cost about 1K, so it wasn't too bad... though I have to get an AVR unit to prevent my fuse from shorting out again. And maybe a new extension cord since the old one's acting iffy. Nothing really new at the Black Market... no sign of the Inu Yasha finale yet, or any new games of note. But I DID get Cold Mountain on DVD for my mom.

Anyway, I got doused a bit by rain, which is pretty irritating since we had THREE umbrellas in the car, and me and the driver didn't bring a single one since it didn't look like rain. Funny... usually the downpours start late in the afternoon. I have a suspicion that the rain just came early to annoy me. Bah.

Anyway, the PC should be fixed and I should be doing pages for Siglo: Passion tomorrow. The Cable TV's on the fritz- totally horrible signal because of some repairs being done... I hope it doesn't last too long. I missed my Detective School Q!!! DARN!!!

Oh well. The night's young. Let's see what I can do with the remainder of this day.

Friday, September 17

Revision of the Jedi

The revised ending in the just-released Star Wars DVDs has Hayden Christensen's younger Anakin replacing the older version played by actor Sebastian Shaw. HOLY revisionist, Batman!

I'm no stranger to revisions. I've personally revised my own comics project, Angel Ace at LEAST four or five times. And of course, the more recent Angel Ace Again comics are a remake of the original Angel Ace story. But I operated under the anime/manga principle of having a different take on the same characters for different medium- If Angel Ace the original issues were the OAVs, the Again books are the TV series adventures of Angela Gale and friends.
Well, it seems that George Lucas himself is quite the re-writer of cinema. But for him, it's not a remake as much as it is a correction. With the magic of digital retouching and CG, Lucas has gone out of his way to change the the original Star Wars Trilogies to fit with the more recent SW prequels. Purists and fans of the original films will scream bloody murder and FOUL, but the deed is done. Fortunately, aside from restoring much of the glory of the old films, the actual changes aren't as pervasive and numerous as once feared.

1. There are Gungans cheering on Coruscant once the Empire is defeated. "Weesa Free! Weesa Free!"

2. Temeura Morrison's voice is now given to Boba Fett, although we never see his face in the original trilogy, as should be.

3. Ian McDiarmid now replaces the old Emperor (said to be the biggest change).

4. A new Jabba the Hut replaces the awkward 1997 version

5. Luke Skywalker's girly scream is removed from the scene where he jumps off from Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back.

6. And, of course, actor Sebastian Shaw (The Black King?) is replaced in the ending by Hayden Christensen, though gladly he still retains his scene as the aging Darth Vader (sans eyebrows).

There are lots more changes and little details throughout. Why the young Anakin in the ending? Is it because the Jedi keep their forms once they die AS Jedi? So Darth Vader gets to be young and virile in the afterlife while Obi Wan stays Alec Guinness old. Is that fair? Hmmm.
I really can't say what I feel about the changes. On the one hand, it's pretty creepy how Lucas can just do that, changing stuff for his whims- Well, it's HIS anyway and he has the frickin' millions to spend on it. On the other hand though, it's making the saga new and updated to the next generation. All I can say is, hold on to those old Star Wars VHS and DVDs of the original films if you want your version true to the original.

Well, at least Lucas didn't update the Obi-Wan and Darth Vader fight in New Hope new acrobatic moves, as we feared he would. Heheh.

Info and News from Ain't It Cool

Thursday, September 16

Never Final

Vincent gets to shine in his own game...

If you thought the upcoming Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is the last word in the FF7 franchise, you're dead wrong. There's a lot of life brewing in Square's most beloved FF world aside from the sequel movie to the PS classic. In the pipes is a cellphone-based game called Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis, which puts players in the boots and suits of members of The Turks, the feared hatchetmen of the powerful Shinra Electric Power Company. Players actually form a network and can aid each other through play with their cellphones, battling monsters and going on operations just like in an action RPG. This game was first supposed to be for Japan only, but it has now been approved for release in the US and other countries. Will it reach here in the Philippines? Who knows.
Another release in the FF7 vein is Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, a game that will star the popular character Vincent Valentine, former Turk-turned shapechanging superbeing/gunner. It's not yet known what the game is all about, or even how it's going to play. But it will surely be something to look at once FF7 fever hits again with the release of Advent Children.
Eyes Wide Shut

Just a scant couple of years ago, all I had to give me information about upcoming things like movies, comics and videogames were magazines, which came loaded with news and stuff that's at LEAST a month or so late in itself (that's the reality of print). These days, when I need to find out the latest developments with my interests, all I have to do is surf online and I can literally see the up-to-the-minute latest developments in the thing I'm looking for, thanks to BBS Groups, Forums and Special Interest Websites.
The CRAPPY thing is, you now actually FEEL every single SECOND and HOUR and DAY of waiting. And when you wait, things happen. For example, I'm waiting for the next Dead or Alive game, Dead or Alive Ultimate, and it's SUPPOSED to come out in a couple of weeks. Then someone on the message boards posts that the game's going to be delayed a month. No proof, no official confirmation... just some asshole posting that some guy in some company told him so and so. And NOW, everyone's getting antsy and worried about a possible delay. Including ME!!! AAAARRRGHHHH...

It's a double-edged sword, this age of hi-speed communications and world-wide networks. We learn about stuff faster, quicker and deeper. But we still have to wait and wait and sweat it out all the same. In fact, we sweat it out more these days. That's the price of knowledge... paranoia and obsession. Darn. I should just keep myself busy with stuff and just lay off the lurking and the surfing... it's not like I don't have tons of stuff to do. Sigh.

The world may have gotten smaller, but it still turns just as slow. Heh.
Second Run

I picked up the second trade paperback of the acclaimed Runaways comic by Marvel last night. The title is all about a group of super-powered teens who find out one night that their parents are super villains. The ensuing chase, the development of their powers and relationships, the uncovering of their folks' true intentions and the possibility of a traitor in their midst makes this title one of the more sought-after books these days.
Unfortunately, like a growing bunch of other recently-purchased comics, it will have to go on the waiting list while I try to sort out my schedule. I've got a deadline tighter than a pair of shrunk-to-fit jeans looming on me, and I think I have to break out the adrenaline syringe to get myself cracking on it. Now THAT'S going to be a run...

Wednesday, September 15

The Death of 2-D?

Capcom calls quits on 2-D fighters
Noritaka Funamizu, the creator of Capcom's legendary 2D fighting series Street Fighter has left Capcom to begin his own games studio. Funamizu's credits also include recent Capcom classics such as Resident Evil Outbreak and Monster Hunter, but it seems that the 2D fighting scene is where he belongs.
Capcom announced that after Capcom Fighting Jam they will not produce any more 2D fighting games, and perhaps it is this which has led for Funamizu to decide to leave. Currently, his new company Craft and Meister have no games in development, and are looking for more recruits. It'll be interesting to see what they produce.

Source: NewsOr

Now THIS is a downer. Even in these days of 3-D games and lifelike polygons, there will always be a certain mystique and grace to 2-D, sprite-based characters. And no other 2-D fighter is as great as the Street Fighter games. If this news item is true, then I guess Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike was IT. It's sad to think that there may not be a Street Fighter 4 in the near future, but who knows? SNK-Playmore is still around as a 2-D games advocate, but without Capcom it just isn't the same. But if there's anything sure about the videogaming world, it's the fact that nothing is for sure. I'm hoping for more 2-D shoryukens somehow, someday.

But give me a my Ibuki in 3-D and I'll be happy as a clam. heh.
Black and White and Yellow and Red

YES, it's Sin City. YES, it's Jessica Alba.

Ever since comic books started becoming movies, I always thought that somehow, someway despite the change in medium there are things that the film version should not compromise. That's why movies like the X-Men films, Daredevil and the upcoming Elektra movie come up way too short for the hardcore comic geek in me. The LOOK. YES, Cyclops, we WANT to see yellow spandex. Where is the DAMN red ninja costume? If you're not going to capture the look and feel of a comic, why even take from the comic at all?
Well, it seems at least that comic fans will soon be seeing a graphic novel jump out at them seemingly from page to celluloid without much change, at least in visual style and graphic punch. I just watched the first footage from the upcoming Sin City translation, and it... looks... brilliant. Black and white for most (except when the Yellow Bastard or the Lady in Red appears), the film looks to be a VERY faithful recreation of the series of graphic novels... and it SHOULD, seeing as how Frank Miller (master of Sin City himself) is on board with director Robert Rodriguez to bring the blood-spattered, leather-bound, bullet-riddled, black-and-white stories of crime and passion to onscreen life. I haven't read much of the series, but I know of it, and now I just may get into it.

Check out a glimpse into the comic-book crimeworld of Sin City here in this Comic Con Promo and revel in the starkness of glorious MP4 (So grab the latest Quicktime before you try). Man, this is going to be something to look forward to.
Xbox Under Fire

Last night I acquired a copy of Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders for the Xbox. Whereas the original KUF was a mediocre and unbalanced fantasy RTS and Warhammer clone, the xbox game looks pretty special. Instead of the usual god's eye view, you're much closer to your units, and you control heroes and major fighters surrounded by their troops as they march into battle. The graphics are pretty amazing, with detailed character models despite having to show literally dozens of warriors onscreen, making for some spectacular battles between dark elves, knights and orcs. It's sort of like the Dynasty Warriors games, but with a fantasy twist and an RTS sensibility. So far, I haven't been able to wage any campaigns yet, but I'll post comments once I conquer a few kingdoms.

Monday, September 13


Will there be a happy ending someday for these two? For now, a happy status quo will have to suffice.

Today, the final episodes of the Inu Yasha anime were shown in Japan. The one-hour special, The Bond Between the Two, Using the Shard of Shikon, ends the anime run, though the actual saga of the half-dog demon, half human warrior, the girl from the present and their allies is not yet over. Naraku and his spawn are still out there, and the final battle is still to be fought.
The IY manga itself is still running, and winding down as well to the finale. There's still a great possibility, if not a certainty, that the anime will continue in some shape or form someday. It's been a great run, and I can easily say that the Inu Yasha anime's quality has been excellent from beginning to end- 167 episodes, and all great. Take a bow, dog-boy and company. It's been great.
Tekken the Motion Picture

Another retro anime I found on the DVD bins is Tekken: The Motion Picture. This came out years ago, during the prime of the videogame's popularity, and I hate to say it but it really didn't do much good for the franchise. The overall quality is iffy, about the same level as the lamentable Tekken Forever comics that came and went with a whimper. The anime version takes the basic Tekken story of fighter Kazuya Mishima (He of the HEAVY eyebrows) seeking revenge on his billionaire father Heihachi, for throwing him off a cliff when he was a boy. The venue for the whole story is a remote island where fighters vying for the billion-dollar prize battle until the lone survivor emerges to face Heihachi himself in a final duel.
Tekken 2 character Jun Kazama is a nature lover and environmentalist/secret agent working with an international agency tracking down the Mishima Zaibatsu's evil plots. When they detect some traces of forbidden genetic engineering back to Mishima, they send Jun and a cocky kung fu cop Lei Wulong (another Tekken 2 veteran) to join the fighting tournament. Jun's main motivation in joining though is finding Kazuya, whom she met as a child, and steering him away from killing his father in cold blood- and falling to the DARK SIDE.

You really have to watch the ENGLISH DUB to fully appreciate how lame this feature is. Among the hilarious elements shown are Heihachi catching a thrown tomahawk with his MOUTH and chewing it to pieces, villain Lee Chaolan talking with a lisp, a plan to sell genetically-engineered INVISIBLE DINOSAURS as the weapon of the future!

With the fights being short or often one-sided or unsatisfactory, popular characters such as Paul Pheonix, King and Yoshimitsu limited to mere cameos (the Boxing Kangaroo had more exposure) and lots of silly monologues about martial arts mumbo-jumbo and preachy talk from Jun about a bobcat and a rabbit, this feature is something that fans of the game would rather just forget ever happened.
But like the Street Fighter movie, I think it's still great to see for a laugh, every now and then. And it's a good way to bring down Namco a peg or two in case they ever become too popular. Heh.

Sunday, September 12

Female GTO

Gokusen the anime.

Kumiko Yamaguchi isn't your usual young lady. At 23 years old, she's quite attractive and naturally pretty, but she dresses unfashionably, keeps her hair in ponytails that make her look younger, wears glasses and views the world in an optimistic (if often naive) way. When she is hired to teach math in an all boys' school, she's thrown at a class of delinquents and bullies who would like nothing better than to force this geeky-looking new teacher to quit.
But unknown to the students and faculty of the school, Kumiko is the 4th generation heir to a notorious Yakuza family, and she's no stranger to handling threats and attack. So when she gets riled up, Kumiko breaks out the Yakuza tactics and doles out some school justice in her own way. Adding to the frenzy is Kumiko's own Yakuza family, who try in their own twisted fashion to 'help' Kumiko. But Kumiko has to walk a fine line and keep her past a secret, or her dream to live a good, honest living will all be for naught.

While Gokusen's general storyline is similar to the more popular GTO (teacher with a shady past teaching delinquents), there are quite a few significant differences. Eikichi Onizuka was a biker gang member- Kumiko is an actual Yakuza heiress- sorta like O-ren Ishii from Kill BIll- and packs a mean punch and a kick when she deals with her own 'family' of thugs and scoundrels. Second, Gokusen is set in an all-boy's school, and Kumiko is a GIRL, so these add in a lot of different factors, such as love interests and dealing with situations in specific ways. And of course, Kumiko's a pretty sober and level-headed character- at least until she switches to Yakuza mode- and then she's all street criminal tough and savvy.
The animation is pretty good- exceptionally so, I'd say... and the art style has that more Japanese-sy look (characters actually look Japanese) instead of the usual anime big-eyed mold. While most of the characters look like caricatures, at least Kumiko herself is pretty and pleasing to look at, if in a slightly geeky, offbeat way.

After watching the first two episodes, I came off with a positive feel for this series, and I'll probably check out the rest of the episodes soon... or at least make it a point to watch the show on Animax later this month.

The anime is based on a live-action drama series. Here's the LIVE version of Kumiko... Gosh she's cute.