Saturday, July 16

Ninja Flick

Ninja on Ice!

I finally got to watch a new anime! Yay! Anyway, it's Naruto the Movie, the first theatrical release of this wildly popular Ninja-themed anime. I can't really consider myself a Naruto fan, though I have to say I do like the series. I don't find myself collecting the loads of paraphernalia now available (like ninja headbands, shuriken keychains and whatnot), but I do own a VCD set of over 100 episodes of the show. However, I haven't gone past episode 20 yet- just hadn't had the time or the mood to watch. Oh well. Story of my life.

Anyhoo, luckily anime movies are generally placed in a limbo place when it comes in relation to the running series- which means that movies are either totally separate entities from the TV show continuity, or can be placed anywhere. In Naruto the Movie, we have the core characters onstage: fearless never-say-die Naruto, cool-headed Sasuke, winsome Sakura and their teacher Kakashi. As the story goes, Naruto and his team are assigned to escort a star actress named Yukie as she goes on location to the isolated Snow Country in order to shoot the final scenes of her latest film. Naruto is of course totally infatuated with the star, who turns out to be far different from her onscreen persona. In short, she's a bit of a bitch and a brat. But what can a ninja do but carry out their mission? But as they enter the frozen wastes of the ever-cold Snow Country, they soon find themselves locked in a struggle between rebels and the evil ruler, Dotou. Soon it's jutsu versus jutsu as Naruto and pals strive to save the Ice Princess and her country!

Naruto the Movie is a surprisingly watchable feature. The story is pretty simple, and a bit predictable of course, but it's nicely executed thanks to really lovely and colorful visuals, nice animation and some pretty awesome ninja magic action. I'm really more of a hands-on person- I prefer fighting hand to hand instead of with giant magical beasts and super energy blasts, but the special attacks and jutsus were so well-animated here, I was having a ball.

In the end, what makes this pretty cool is seeing the characters kick butt, and have Underdog Naruto eventually get his just desserts at the end of the movie. At about an hour and a half, this movie doesn't wear out it's welcome, with a good amount of action, some drama and a few laughs. Naruto fans of course have eaten this up, but anyone who wants a good action anime movie can do a lot worse than watch this ninja flick. Get it at your local anime dealers in the Metro.

Friday, July 15

Of Saving, Bangus, Taxis and Go Go Yubari

I usually go through payday cycles pretty comfortably, single guy that I am… eat meals pretty much anytime, pretty much anywhere non-five star. Splurge on comics or any odd thing or toy that piques my interest, take taxi cabs to work in the morning, the works. But when unusual purchases hit, it jars me. So it was that I had just spent a bundle on my PC, right after I splurged on quite a few DVDs and comics at the Blood Bank. Suddenly I had an uncomfortably small amount of resources compared to time till next payday. No problem, I thought. I still had more than enough to get through.

I made plans. No more cab rides to work. Comic purchases limited to bare essential titles. Meals to economical and dinners eaten at home if possible. Tightening belts was the order of the day. I had done this before, in order to get K.I.A. moving, albeit to a lesser degree. It seemed to work for the first few days.

Then, in the middle of the week, I got an email from a local anime shop that they got a copy of Azumi 2, the samurai/ninja sword-slashing sequel starring Aya Ueto and featuring Chiaki ‘Go Go’ Kuriyama. Hey… something to get next payday.

Of course, I couldn’t wait till pay day.

That same afternoon, I got off work relatively early so I did what my desires told me to. I got into a cab and made my way to Greenhills.

Of course, it was in rush hour traffic from Makati to San Juan, which took about an hour and about 120 pesos. I raced against the light, knowing that the shop closed at about seven-ish. But I was confident I’d make it. My cab got into Greenhills just after seven.

Goddamn shop was closed.

GYAH. Disappointed and angry that I wasted the cab ride, I just wanted to go home and save the day with rest. But then, I was hungry, so I decided to eat out. Somewhere economical and delicious. My hunger led me to Bangus, a new resto in one of the many new mini-malls in the GH area. I ordered sizzling bangus (milkfish) fillet, rice and a drink. Good meal. But it cost almost three hundred pesos.

ARGH!!! Economical!!! Must… save… money… must…

Aaah. What the heck. Defeated, I hailed ANOTHER cab (another hundred off there) to get me home.

And so it was that during my time of scrimping and saving, I spent an extra day’s worth of money for pretty much nothing.

Oh well, in the end, the meal was good and you really shouldn’t regret food. And anyway, payday finally came and I reached it with some cash left over. Things didn’t work out totally as I planned, but they worked out anyway. Sometimes you just have to let things flow, let things go, let stress off and just live a little. Or, you can just avoid situations like what I just related to you and be better off. Your pick. Heh.

Thursday, July 14

Inhuman Torture

Well, actually, I went to see a dentist today.

I have had a toothache which grew from a negligible spot to a radiating source of excruciating, gum-irradiating torment night after night for the past week or so. Since my cash flow was kinda dead, I had to endure till I was back in the black before I could have my teeth looked at- apparently my darn medical card doesn't have dental in mind. FEH.

Anyway, I had my teeth cleaned and the main problem area capped with a temporary cover... but I will probably have to come back for a root canal in the near future. Guh.

I can't tell you how terrifying it is... the scraping of drills on teeth, the horrid smell of burnt bone, the sensation of probing metal going dangerously near sensitive nerves... it sends shivers up my spine whenever I think of it. Anyway, it's not unbearable but it's also not something I am looking forward to. But then, the pain has subsided, thankfully enough. Now it's just a matter of taking the problem out completely when I can. Sigh.

My kingdom for some adamantium choppers.

Wednesday, July 13

Political Storm Signal No. 3

Didn't go to work today since the admin called the day off on account of political rallies at Makati. Ayala Avenue's closed off and rallyists will be all over the place.

Still, some jobs don't care whether or not there's a work day. Have some stuff to write and send out within the day. Still, I'm glad to avoid heavy traffic and spending any more of my mostly-depleted cash. I'll be staying home and doing some writing, some reading and a bit of fooling around with the PC and the TV. We'll see.
Deadly Dress

Just saw a CSI New York episode where a bride-to-be dies on her wedding day from mysterious causes. An interesting case, but I saw the solution a mile away. Nah, I’m no sleuth… I just watch Discovery Channel a lot.
It is eventually revealed that the young victim succumbed to chemical poisoning from formaldehyde in the lining of her wedding dress, which was apparently taken off from a corpse by an unscrupulous mortician.
This “deadly dress” story is actually an urban legend, which was shown on one of my fave shows on Discovery Channel, Urban Legends Revealed: Not-so-true Stories.
Anyway, from what I remember, the story wasn’t really true and formaldehyde traces on clothing shouldn’t really be lethal enough to kill… though on the CSI episode you’d think there was a biological weapon on the clothing. It’s cool to be able to see the connection between shows… but then I always think that the CSI shows originated from Discovery Channel’s forensic detective shows that went on long before Grissom, Horatio and Taylor ever showed up. Ah, those were the real CSI shows. But then, none of the detectives were babes like Sara Sidle or Calleigh Duquesne, so whatever. Heh.

Monday, July 11

Dead Tired

I just spent the whole of Sunday at a TV shoot, from early in the AM to just past midnight, Monday morning. Needless to say, I'm tired as heck (though not tired enough to not blog... heh). The whole day was spent watching and waiting as the Production Crew worked their trade, setting cameras and equipment in place to capture shots in various angles, as a chosen model tried her best to bring a storyboard to life. It was an outdoor shoot, so we prayed for sunlight (especially since recent days have been sodden with rain)... and our prayers seem to have worked too well, since it was positively sweltering and I had to keep my liquid up or risk getting sunstroke. Really, I was guzzling glass after glass of cold drinks all day and I only went to the toilet to pee ONCE. Darn.

Anyway, the worst part was of course standing and standing and standing around and waiting and just getting tired waiting for your sweat to dry and just imagining the pleasures of a cold shower and a soft bed. Well, I'm taking the day off today and enjoying these things... even for a while as work will still intrude for a bit. But only after I get enough sleep, dammit.

Ah. You gotta love this bizness. Heh.
Sword Raving Mad

Is Soul Calibur III going to KICK ARSE or what? Not only will it feature a totally out-of-this-world Character Creation mode, but according to the latest video released by the official site, SCIII's Story Mode is set to blow every other fighting game's namby-pamby excuse for this primary gameplay mode.

According to the Soul Calibur III developers, SCIII's Tale of Souls mode will be unique to each character. Each fighter will have a story that he or she will play through, and the mode will have them going through not only through the usual duels but interactive cinematics where they will be able to either make friends or enemies out of various supporting characters. There will also be paths to choose, so you can create your own tale and follow your warrior's adventures one way or the other. This non-linear, interactive and story-intensive way of doing the Story Mode is revolutionary considering that every other fighter so far basically just has a line of fights broken up by short, non-interactive cinemas as staple fare.

Darn. It's official... Soul Calibur III is the PS2's last, greatest fighting game. Let's hope every other fighter from now on follows its bloody magnificent trail. The slashing starts later in 2005, exclusively for the PS2.