Friday, April 22

Angel Ace: Fall from Heaven

I am actually contemplating on doing THIS story for the next Angel Ace release, instead of the previously-announced Angel Ace JET.

As this story goes, Angela Gale is living quietly in Newhaven with love interest Mike and the Scott siblings, Rip and Tip. All seems well, despite the occasional adventure (such as a trip to Manila, dealing with the return of The Sorcerer and whatever), the gang is more or less doing great. But then comes a new bulletin on air letting all know that Gallowglass Mass Industries' famous young President Mondebaine Gallowglass is going to unveil a world-changing device very soon... and he's doing it right in Newhaven!

Unfortunately, this great invention is something that has many dangerous and powerful forces worried. So worried that they they won't stop at anything to destroy it, the GMI leader and coincidentally, anyone and everyone near him to keep it from being released.

So when the action starts exploding in the skies over Newhaven between GMI and their enemies, Angel is forced to move in order to save lives in danger. Will she be able to keep her secret? Or will this be the end of her quiet life in Newhaven?

This is a BIG plot mover in the Angel Ace series, plus it has the distinct advantage of involving the series' main heavies, GMI. I have tried so many times but so far failed to put out stories that include the main villains of Angel Ace... perhaps I'm unconsciously resisting it? Well, if I go this route for the next issue, it should start the road for the series' endgame. And seeing that I've been doing the title for almost ten years, maybe it's a long time coming.

We'll see what happens.
Incredibly Disappointing

A week ago I bought an original copy of The Incredibles dvd. The 2-disc set includes extras like a new animated short starring the Incredibles' youngest, baby Jack-Jack, the 'Bounding' animated short that was shown right before The Incredibles in the theaters, Files and info on 'The Supers', bloopers and outtakes, an old-style superhero cartoon entitled "Mr. Incredible and Pals', lots of behind the scenes features and more.

Incredibly enough though, I was pretty disappointed by a lot of the stuff. The 'Mr. Incredible and Pals' cartoon was not funny, no matter that the cheeziness and retro-ness was intended... it just wasn't funny. The Outtakes and Bloopers reel consists of just glitchy vids or re-done footage set to music and a laugh track which again didn't entertain as much as the makers may have expected it too (I found the 'orchestrated' bloopers from the Toy Story and Bug's Life credits a lot more endearing). The BTS features aren't as interesting as you'd think- it actually gets kinda boring with just Pixar people patting themselves on the back and shit. Oh well... I guess the best thing about the DVD is the actual movie, which isn't bad... but then, I could have just been satisfied with my bootleg disc then. Grrr.

Another disappointing recent DVD release is Kung Fu Hustle (region 3), which has no extras at all... perhaps I'll need to look for the region 1 or the original HK discs to see good stuff.

The MADman DVD reviews! I buy bad DVDs so YOU don't have to! Hazzah!
100 Kills

Blade gets it's hundredth notch.

In all my years of collecting comics on and off, one title has been there for almost forever. It's Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal, the samurai epic with street punk sensitivities and bad-ass characters, blood showers and flying body parts. It's a tale of revenge, loyalty, love, tragedy, deception, honor, dishonor and a one-eyed samurai with worms in his blood. It's about a girl caught in a cycle of revenge that she has to see through to the bitter end, no matter where it goes. It's about a genius swordsman ready to take on the order of an Empire for his ideals, and the loyal comrades who would die to meet that goal. It's about lots of swords and predictably, lots of killing. It's not for everyone but it's something I truly enjoy... even though I can finish reading a single issue in the time it takes to cross a room.

Blade's strength is in it's characters and the kinetic action. It's not hard to like Immortal hero Manji, or young and naive Rin. But strangely enough you also find yourself liking the villains of the series as well, from the idealistic and driven Anotsu to the pragmatic Magatsu and the invincible Makie. But when you hate someone, you hate them totally, such as the monster Shira (whose demise is hopefully permanent). But this love for the characters also comes with the unfortunate knowledge that some of these favorites may meet their end as well. In the latest issues, this may very well come to pass. Well, all I can do is read with bated breath and hope for the best.

I often think about why after all this time that BOTI hasn't seen an anime release; apparently Mr. Samura doesn't believe that anime can bring his visions to life. Perhaps a live-action film? Well, the closest I've seen to Blade's look is the recent anime Samurai Champloo. Perhaps someday we will see Manji, Rin, Anotsu, Makie and the rest in motion. For now though, there are a hundred issues of Blade of the Immortal to look back on and appreciate, and hopefully a hundred more at least to come. Darn... that's gonna be a whole lot more bodies...
Fun on the Job

It's really cool when you have a client that has a product you believe in and are into, and you're in a position to do cool stuff for. Yesterday we had a big meeting that got things done, things in motion and things looking good for the future. Heck, there's even an opportunity to write something really out of the box and unconventional and that should be pretty fun. These are the perks that often come in The Job. They don't come often, but when they do it's pretty awesome.

Thursday, April 21

Sinful DVD

The coming Sin City DVD is gonna be loaded.

When Sin City hits the dvd shelves, and I mean the original dvd release, fans of the film will have a lot of treats in store. Since the theatrical release of the movie pretty much melded three of Frank Miller's graphic novels together, the dvd will give viewers the option to see each chapter- That Yellow Bastard, The Big Fat Kill and The Hard Goodbye- as one separate film, complete with opening and ending credits and new footage not seen in the movie theaters. The scenes aren't just throwaway footage, insists director Robert Rodriguez; there will be terrific scenes both for plot and action that will await dvd viewers. These scenes will be familiar to readers of the comics, such as a scene where Marv (Mickey Rourke) visits his mom to get his gun.

Sin City fell to Number Four this week at the US Box Office, after debuting at Number One a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, the movie has made quite a bit of cash at a supposedly relatively low cost of production (it's a Robert Rodriguez film after all). I hope this means that more Sin City books will be forthcoming. Gosh, I wanna see Miho in action again. Heh.

Wednesday, April 20

Back in the Saddle

After a two-day absence, I'm back in the Salt Mines. Of course, I have to deal with lots of stuff right off the bat. Well, time waits for no one. Fortunately, everything seems to be working well. Still have lots of stuff to think about, stuff to write, stuff to figure out and stuff to keep in mind. It's a good thing that despite everything, I still enjoy doing advertising. Writing scripts and taglines, troubling over products, ideas and concepts, brainstorming and presenting materials to the boss or to client... it's all work that's so familiar yet in some ways something new every time. Ya gotta love this business to stay in it. Having a great place to work and people you like around you helps too. A lot, actually.

What can I say? I'm a lucky guy to love my day job and have my nights with my passions. How many people can say that? Heh.

Tuesday, April 19

Slashing Sequel

Rau and Tati battle to stop the Rise of the Kasai.

The original Mark of Kri was a little-known gem of a game- conceivably what would occur if Disney did Conan the Barbarian. Well, the sequel, Rise of the Kasai had some lofty ideals guiding it's production. Some worked, some didn't, but in the end this is a pretty cool stealth-and-slash action title.
You take the role of the Rakus, a clan of valiant warriors whose duty is to defend the hapless innocents who have been marked with evil tattoos. These vile body paintings are all part of 'the Mark of Kri', an evil magic sigil sought after by some very evil forces- particularly the titular Kasai. In the previous game, Rau, the tank-like hero, slew an evil necromancer in defense of his sister, Tati, who is revealed to be a bearer of one of the cursed marks.

Well, the saga continues ten years later, and something is wrong. Rau is dead. Or, he will be, unless a key event- a life-altering moment, is changed. In order to effect this change, the player must step play through various stages as one of two teams of Raku warriors- as Rau and Tati in the present day, and as their mentors Baumusu and Griz in the past. Only then can you unlock the secret of Rau's death and somehow try to avert this event and stop The Rise of the Kasai.

Players choose one member of the two pairs to play through a stage, while the other character will be controlled by the CPU. Originally, ROTK was meant to be a 2-player cooperative affair, but this factor was eventually scrapped for the final game. In this lies pretty much the game's main weakness- your A.I. partner is often inadequate, sometimes getting caught in a wall or glitch, freezing up or spoiling your plans for stealth when he/she decides arbitrarily to go in all guns blazing (or blades flashing, as the case may be).
Otherwise though, it's not that glaring, aside from a couple of hiccups. The game still shines through with excellent character designs and fluid animation, large stages and pretty straightforward goals. Fighting is deep, with the ability to lock onto foes and assign targets to buttons on the controller. It can get a bit frustrating sometimes when enemies block all the time when you're hurrying to hack them to pieces, but overall the action is fast, satisfyingly brutal and slick.

Beating through the stages is just part of the game. Hidden goodies are unlocked by accomplishing 'challenges' through every stage. These extras are cool- such as artworks from the game developers, and nice extra outfits to see your Rakus in through your second or third time through the game (my favorite is 'Evil' Tati in the thong and tattoos).

But what really makes Rise of the Kasai fun is the cool story, told well through good voiceovers, lovely art and really pretty 'paint brush' cinemas. If only for the story, ROTK is worth the price of admission, but adding to the fun is solid gameplay, sexy visuals and some brutally fun action. Rise of the Kasai is now out for the PS2. Mark a copy now for yourself and get chopping!

Monday, April 18

Putting up with Crap

Stayed at home sick with a stomach bug. Thanks to that, finally got to watch an episode of the much-hyped Darna TV series.

The story- well, there really is no story save what has been established. Narda (Angel Locsin) is a witless, spineless, vapid doormat of a girl who works as a janitress who is continually being harassed by primadonna Valentina (Alessandra de Rossi), her cousin and sworn enemy (in both of her personas) who manipulates the slow-witted heroine to her pleasure and that of her equally irritating evil dona of a mom. Then we are introduced to Carmina Villaroel as Valentina's rival, who looks really pretty at least. In perhaps the stupidest scene in the show, Narda drops the power stone when Carmina bumps into her. Carmina picks up the stone, and then asks Narda if she can keep it. Spineless Narda can't even say anything to get the stone back- Carmina practically gives it back on her own. DAMN this is bad writing.

Oh, and Narda's in love with EFren (who doesn't remember her since he has amnesia) who tries to talk a suicidal bum from jumping off a building. He manages to save the psycho's kid, but then suddenly the guy pushes him. The guy must be damn strong or Efren just damn clumsy since he ends up dangling from a flagpole even though they were all safe in the middle of the building's rooftop a second before. Narda finally realizes that she should swallow that rock since it's almost time for the episode to end and the title character hasn't been seen at all. And so for about 30 seconds, Darna finally appears to save the day, but sadly not this crapper of a show.

The scenes are overlong and dragging as hell. Never mind the damn acting or crappy effects. The show is boring and braindead and I just want it to die already. Choke on a fricking stone.

Sin Eater

Darn it! Say it isn't so.

I've heard a rumor that the reason why we Pinoys haven't been seeing any sign of Sin City in any local theaters is because the showing of the film is being held up since the MTRCB is insisting on cuts to the mature comic book movie. Sure, there are a lot of stuff that's pretty nasty- decapitations, dismemberment, implied cannibalism, violent deaths and gunfights, stabbings, explosions, a couple of scenes with naked breasts, a tastefully-done sex scene and one nasty castration, but darn... most of the stuff is really not gratuitous, but more stylish. And having most of it in black and white reduces the gore even more. Just enforce the ratings and keep kids out! We adults want to see this opus in theaters, damn it.

Sigh. Yeah, we can all just rush to our beloved dvd stalls and get a good copy to watch, but this film just NEEDS to be seen in a theater, with an audience and booming sounds. It just needs to. I hope this all gets straightened out soon...
Doing the AshCan-Can

Several of us comics guys (and maybe gals) are planning to do something for next month's Free Comic Book Day. It'll be a little thing, an ashcan-type comic that we can easily put together without too much fuss. The last time we thought of something like this was with a thing called That Magic Moment, which included 8-page stories from several of us, all following the title's theme. It wasn't earthshaking stuff, but it was a nice bunch of yarns. However, we never really were able to get that one out- hopefully this year's little project will happen. The theme, which I'll keep under wraps for a while, is pretty fun... something I think I'll enjoy a lot. We'll see what happens next in the next week or so.

Sunday, April 17

Heaven and Eggs

The gang discovered a new eatery over the weekend care of Ralph. It's called Heaven and Eggs, a quaint resto that specializes in steak and egg dishes, with pasta, Asian meals and pancakes/waffles in between. The pricing is supposedly cheaper than equivalent places, such as Country Waffles, and the portions are generous. The place also serves several kinds of bottomless drinks, including an odd Flower Tea (which actually has petals and stuff floating in it- only for the adventurous) and classic tea (which you have to sweeten yourself with syrup). The place has a cozy, white color scheme, and the waitresses wear cute wings on their backs.
Anyway, I tried out a steak meal with scrambled eggs, and the place's classic pancakes. The food was good, and I was pretty much satisfied. The others were probably happy since they were near their singing place. Well, to each his own. After the meal, I headed off home and played away the wee hours of the morning with Rise of the Kasai.