Friday, September 9


According to Advent Children Net, Square-Enix, the producers of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, have announced that the recent rumors of a US release are untrue, and while there will conceivably be a limited/collected edition release in the US, nothing has been confirmed or announced. So far, on the official website, FFVII AC has a 'holiday release', which means probably November or December. Or later.

What the heck? I really can't figure out these guys. There's already an Italian version. The Japanese version is coming out in several days. Why delay the english language version for months?

Well, knowing the way things really work, fansubs of Advent Children will be available once the DVDs or UMDs of the Japanese version are released. There will probably be copies here very soon. I for one have ordered the Japanese DVD... I am not waiting any longer than I really have to. Keep your frickin' english dubbed crap. I just want my original Japanese with subtitles.

Hang delays. I want my FFVII yesterday, damn it.

First it was Bubble Trubble years ago. Then it was Apeiron. Then recently, Snood and Bejeweled.

Now, the new game craze sweeping the land (well, The Salt Mines at least) is Luxour, a furiously addictive game on the Mac which can be described as Snood but with all the weird heads and characters turned into rolling marbles which roll inevitably through a spiraling path towards a goal which you must try desperately to hold back. Whew.

Anyway, the sound effects of this Egyptian-themed puzzler/strategy game probably makes up a lot of the enjoyment. A lot of the crew can be seen, playing furiously, mouthing expletives for every step the marbles take closer to the end, a cheer for every victorious setback.

I fear to get into this game. I might not get anything done if I do...

I was just about to watch the Disney superhero teen-flick Sky High last night, watching through the trailers before the last full show, minding my own business, when something suddenly flashed and before me, flooring me in utter amazement.

There is actually a SECOND Dungeons and Dragons movie.

Yes, you read that right.

You will of course remember the original D&D film (which we've flogged on this blog multiple times in the past), that horrid piece of orc turd trying to pass itself off as high fantasy but only serving to be a tombstone to the genre if not for the appearance of the LOTR Trilogy. Well, we heard rumors before that producer/director Courtney Solomon had succeeded in using a charm spell to rope someone into funding a second film in the series... well, it turned out to be true.

It started off quietly. I saw what seemed to be an old, or at least, low-budget-looking fantasy film trailer before me, with knights and warriors and elves and dragons. I stared at it in confusion, thinking maybe it was the upcoming Bloodrayne film, or maybe something from Europe. But it wasn't... I stared as suddenly I recognized Bruce Payne, aka the evil warrior Damodar from the first movie, appear. DAMODAR??? Didn't he DIE in the first one? He got thrown off a tower. Well, for some reason, Mr. Payne reprises his role in the sequel, but now has gotten rid of the blue lipstick (heh) and has been bumped up to head baddie (since Jeremy Irons turned into dragon feces at the end of the first turd of a film).
Anyway, apparently Mr. Payne is the only cast member to return from the first film... the new heroes are pretty much unknown actors to me. Anyway, the movie is called Dungeons and Dragons: The Elemental Might AKA Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God, and apparently it is a straight-to-video release in the US. But for us Pinoys, we get it in theaters.

The plot is apparently as follows: The country of Izmir is once again under siege, this time from the black sorcerer Damodar (Payne) and his growing army of gruesome creatures. To save the land, four heroes representing strength, intelligence, dexterity and wisdom (what? No Hero of Comeliness?) must come together, form their own army, and use the elemental might to defeat Damodar before he unleashes the terror of a Black Dragon.

Woah. So how did an evil fighter (Damodar) survive a fall from hundreds of feet, and become a master sorcerer? Class change? What happened to the heroes of the first movie? If this is anything like the first film, it'll probably all be explained offscreen.

Anyway, the trailer was actually put together quite well, despite some cheap-looking special effects. I'm actually curious to see it. I want to see if it's actually possible to make a movie worse than the first D&D movie.

Hey, who knows... maybe it'll be good for a laugh. Another dead dragon to flog. MAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Elemental might... phah...

Wednesday, September 7


After she had her first eye operation last week (her next one is tomorrow), Mom had to wear a weird transparent eye shield over one eye whenever she goes to bed. The thing is, she has to keep her eye dry, hence the cover. So it was that Mom kinda looks like a retired member of the Universal Soldier project. Or, Cyber-Ma! Anyway, it's really cool to hear her remark about how her vision is sooooo much better now. She can, apparently, now totally appreciate watching TV since she never before noticed how COLORFUL the TV screen was. As it turns out, her vision was washed out and getting progressively blurry before- things she just took as a sign of her advancing age.
But now, she's enjoying things and perhaps seeing everything again for the first time. It's wonderful to hear that.

While she was talking to doctors and stuff, she also found out that apparently, my grade of myopic vision can already be treated (my eye grade is pretty high)... So conceivably I can have my eyes operated on myself to get better vision... if and when I can bring together the money for it. The amount isn't impossible- it's about as expensive as a comic book release like K.I.A.- so perhaps maybe next year or so, I'll be seeing stuff in a whole new light as well. We'll see.

For now though, Mom can see well. That's enough.

Tuesday, September 6

Back to School

The Mythology Class is back.

The first time I read Arnold Arre’s Mythology Class was years ago, in parts, even before the comic reached the printing presses. Back then, when me and Arn were in college (UP Fine Arts), I’d immediately go “Pa-Xerox! Pa-Xerox! Pa-Xerox!” whenever he came up with a chapter of his incredible, personal comic project. And being the friendly guy that he was, and is, he’d oblige. I still have those Xerox-copies of the original Myth Class somewhere in The Sanctum, locked away under lock and key, with half-aswang, half-kapre guards ever watchful.
Myth Class hooked me at the time initially thanks to the fact that about 95 percent of the characters in the book are based on real people in and around our college (including me, in a very short, very small role…heh). But while I came for the art, I stayed for the story, and never left.
This new, collected Special Edition of Myth Class is a mix; the ‘Lucasisms’, or revisions, are sporadically sprinkled throughout. They range from different treatments of scenes (and some discreet censorings…), to slight modifications of dialogue, to totally new segments that, thankfully, fit in well with doses of humor and levity to the already light banter of the Class. There’s even some updating of technology- originally equipped with audio cassettes, the techie members of the Myth Class are now packing CDs to make with the times. There’s no texting though, strangely enough. Heh.

For the most part, The Mythology Class is a wonderful re-presentation of Arnold’s classic, easily one of the most impressive local works of graphic storytelling in recent times, and even after more than six years I still consider it my favorite among Arnold’s works. Not because of art, but by sheer volume, depth, detail and the spirit that was infused in every page and character.
At more than 350 pages, it’s a lengthy, immersive read, full of fantastic images, witty dialogue, impressive action and a wide-eyed sense of wonder that Arnold always infuses in his comics.

Arnold’s original, self-published run reached a lot of people, but this new, collected release by Anino looks to reach even more. The only bottleneck is the inevitable high price, since it IS a 350-plus page monster of a book… but it’s still cheaper than any foreign graphic novel, and you’re getting a LOT of bang for your buck. Highly recommended to any fans of local pop culture and comic readers in general. Class is in session. Attendance is a MUST!

The Mythology Class tells the story of a band of travelers from antiquity, their epic, endless quest, and the wonderful mish-mash of unique youths they gather to join them in the adventure of a lifetime. Story and art by Arnold Arre, soon to be available in major bookstores and comic shops in Metro Manila.

For more information and a view of more art based on the book, visit the Mythology Class Website.

Arnold and Cynthia Arre with MY copy of the Mythology Class Special Collection.

Not a rumor. Not an urban legend. Not a myth. Wait a minute, it is. Ah, whatever. Anyway, have you all been hearing that the Mythology Class comic book by Arnold Arre is being collected into a single, mammoth collection? Well, it's true. Now fans of the cult local independent comic book can rejoice in a remastered, refurbished, rejuvinated Myth Class, complete with new pages of art and even new dimensions into this modern komiks classic. And those long-suffering fanboys who've been asking and searching for in vain for elusive First and Second issues of Myth Class can finally see what they've been missing.


Arnold and Cynthia passed by today at The Salt Mines, for a chat and to give me my free sample copy. Oh my! The truly monumental Special Collection clocks in at over 350 pages of story and extras that include colored pinup/past cover art, sketches and artist notes, and some nice odds and ends. Arnold took the time and effort to smoothen out some parts of his original masterpiece, along with some all-new pages and some changes to update the Class for the times (the gang now sports cellphones and CDs).

I expect to dive into the book as soon as I can, to see what has changed and what has remained the same of this comic opus.

Anyway, the LAUNCH of the Myth Class Collection will be on September 16, 2005, evening (6-7ish) at Rockwell. Expect to see Arnold and Cynthia there with a boatload of engkantos- er, enchanted fans. Also, you can check out the New Mythology Class Website that's loaded with new pieces of fan art, including a couple of pieces from me. Yay!

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a Tikbalang to run down. Hoho!

The Mythology Class is released by Anino Publishing. Catch it soon at bookstores and comic book shops everywhere in the metro.

Monday, September 5

Advent Voices

Just for fun and otaku giddiness, here are some info on the voice actors (Japanese) for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children and info on their previous anime roles. Some interesting stuff.

Cloud Strife, the main man and seemingly eternal imo boy, will be played by Takahiro Sakurai. The actor said in an interview that he really loved FFVII and Cloud in particular, so he was literally floored when he was asked to play the role. His previous anime voice credits include Shun Ukiya from Gatekeepers and Arihiko Inui in Lunar Legend Tsukihime. He's also played a villain, as Kagami Kyouji in Getbackers.

Tifa Lockheart is played by lovely actress Ayumi Itouh, who looks just as pretty as her CG/game counterpart (look for her online). She has been cast in the films All About Lily Chou-Chou and Swallowtail Butterfly.

Yuffie Kisaragi is played by Yumi Kazaku, whose previous anime roles include Aya Mikage from Ayashi no Ceres, and other roles in Full Metal Alchemist, Raxhephon and Initial D.

Aeris Gainsborough is played by none other than Maaya Sakamoto, who's basically a megastar in anime and Japanese music. Her previous roles in anime includes the voice of Hitomi Kanzaki from Escaflowne.

The Wheelchair-bound Man is played by Tohru Okawa, who also voiced Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist. Interestingly enough, Wheelchairman's bodyguard, the red-haired Turk Reno, is voiced by Keiji Fujiwara, who played Mustang's best friend and subordinate Maes Hughes in FMA.

Sephiroth will be given his villainous voice by veteran seiyuu Toshiyuki Morikawa, whose past vocal performances include game characters Kazuya Mishima in Tekken 4 and Heishiro Mitsurugi in Soul Calibur. He also voiced the mega-villain Naraku from the Inu Yasha anime.

For me, the optimal way to watch Advent Children will be with the original Japanese dialogue and subtitles, but that's just me.

I wonder who the english voice actors will be? Speculating on that would make a great topic by itself. Heh.

Sunday, September 4

Advent Reading

In but a couple of weeks, FFVII: Advent Children will be released on DVD and UMD (PSP Format) in Japan. But forget about the Nippon for a bit; if we’re going to be jealous of someone, it should be with the Italians. That’s because the final, 100-minute cut of FF7 AC has already been shown in Venice Italy.

I don’t really mind spoilers, so it was fine for me to read a super-detailed report on the movie, with tons o’ spoilers. And so, without necessarily spoiling details for the rest of us FF7 AC virgins, here are some bits of info.

FF7 AC is Cloud’s show. It’s all about him, his internal conflicts, his ongoing turmoil even after the story in the game. Everyone else is secondary, with most of the cast (including the other FF7 heroes) in roles that are little more than cameos. This is to be expected, as Advent Children originally started out as a 30-minute feature that really just focused on Cloud and little else.
For the most part though, it is apparent from the script that Aeris the Flower Girl will have a huge impact on the story, beyond the simple flashback. Next, Tifa and Vincent will also have good screentime, as will members of Shinra and The Turks.

Bottom line, there are cool moments aplenty for pretty much all the fan favorites.

Expect LOTS of fanservice like signature attacks from the game shown in full CG loveliness. The battle scenes and fights are supposed to be beyond awesome. Well, we’ll just have to see them for ourselves.

The story though is not without flaws- nothing extremely world-changing really happens, and it’s all pretty linear and not unexpected really. However, it should be stressed that you really can’t expect to satisfy everyone; by all indications though, this movie is going to rock. Fans of FFVII should expect to be majorly impressed by perhaps the ultimate in fan service ever. Everyone else who enjoys a good sci-fi fantasy adventure with unparalleled animation, drama and action should be in for a treat.

FFVII: Advent Children takes place a couple of years after the end of the story in the classic Playstation RPG. The heroes and villains of the world of Midgar must now face a new threat together- the deadly disease known as Geostigma, and the dangerous group of Silver-haired Young Men who plan to resurrect the world's most dangerous enemy- Sephiroth. Cloud Strife, fallen hero, must find it in himself to rise up and defend what he values, or die trying.

Damn, I can’t wait to see this movie. NOW. NOW. NOW.