Saturday, March 3

Resurrected Game

Back from the grave to the PS3.

Last night, Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection became available for download on the US Playstation Network Store. The game comes with 1080p-scaled graphics, a playable boss (Jinpachi, whom I'll probably never touch) and... that's about it. The game has a few modes- Arcade, which is your usual ladder match to the final boss, Ghost Mode, which puts you in a never-ending string of fights against various CPU A.I.-controlled fighters (much like the Kumite/Quest mode in VF5 and the PSP version of Tekken 5), a VS Mode and a Gallery Mode for viewing CG movies (of which there are just three) and a bunch of Tekken art, all of which you have to unlock using game money you earn while playing.

Well, I downloaded the game and it's right now in my PS3's Hard Drive, and I'm quite happy with it. Yes, it's a pretty bare-bones affair, but hey- it's only a 20-dollar download (you'll need a credit card and an account in the PSN Network), and it looks quite nice on the HDTV. Not as good as Virtua Fighter 5, but hell- what is? It's a better-than-arcade-perfect translation for the home of a pretty excellent fighter (albeit one that has been out for several years), and that will satisfy fighting game fans like myself. At the very least, it's a nice game to chew when I need a break from VF5. And a nice little reminder that Namco-Bandai owes us PS3 gamers Tekken 6.
Spicy Hot

Something to look forward to: Satoshi Kon's Paprika.

Here's a trailer to the latest work of visionary anime director Satoshi Kon. It's all about attractive 29-year old Atsuko Chiba, a doctor in the cutting-edge field of psychotherapy. A new invention can now allow scientists to enter the actual dreams of patients, in order to discover what's behind their anxieties and neurosis... or to totally destroy that person's mind. When one of these devices is stolen and people start dreaming themselves into absolute madness, the task of saving mankind from falling prey to literal nightmares is Atsuko's stunning alter ego- a vibrant, 18-year old 'dream detective' named Paprika.

What can I say except, this looks totally AWESOME, which is exactly what I expect from Satoshi Kon. The animation looks off the wall and the premise of entering dreams should make for some creepy-fascinating-far out seemingly imagery. I can't wait to see this, as I have enjoyed Kon's past works like Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent. Official trailers for the US release can be viewed at the official movie site. The movie is due out in US theaters in late May 2006.

Wednesday, February 28

Truncated Oscars

Is it just me, or is this year's Oscars the WORST when it comes to videoclips? I mean, when you watch the presentation of nominees for the various acting awards, the clips are like, 3-second one-line snippets. Whatever happened to the clips that actually gave you a sense of that person's performance? Is it because of the premium on airtime? I watch the awards mainly for the clips, darn it.

I also didn't like Ellen Degeneres' stint as host- there seems to be a lot of dead air in between her gags, and it just feels like a bigger version of how she does her own show. Her schtick seems like adlibbing her way through the night, which was entertaining to a point, but it got kinda old fast as the spontaneity wasn't quite there- it was just awkward and silly. But to be fair, EVERYONE seemed to be off, everyone fumbling with dialogue or spiels and off-kilter jokes. One particularly weird moment was when the Devil Wears Prada girls did a gag with Meryl Streep in the audience, and it was just... off. Whatever. In any case- this year's Academy Awards- the most awkwardly-scripted and executed Oscars in recent memory for me. Not even worth remembering.

Well, I haven't watched many movies lately, and incredibly enough, none of this year's big winners (not even in the animation films). So maybe that's why I'm kinda off on the awards. Maybe it just means I have to get back to watching movies. And soon. Sigh.
The 'e' in eBay stands for...

...EEEEVIL... That's the best word I can describe to this conglomeration of temptation that resides in the worldwide web. It dangles all these wonderful toys and things before your eyes... and then lets you so easily purchase these said toys and things with simple presses of a button (oh, and the existence of a verified PayPal account)... EVIL I tell you... I walked away from all of this a long time ago. But like the mafia... they just pulled me back IN... Aaaaaaah... Credit sapped... money vanishing... but wonderful toys... so wonderful...

One of the few comic titles I am still collecting AND reading immediately is Astonishing X-men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. The writing of every issue is trademark Whedon, with sharp, snappy dialogue and gorgeous art that is ripe with great facial expressions to hard-hitting action. For a series that gets pretty serious and bleak at times, things can suddenly go in a totally different direction in a heartbeat, and I also found myself laughing out loud at several points in some really good gags and humorous moments. I really love the return of Colossus, having Kitty Pryde be a kick-arse heroine and the portrayals of Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast and Wolverine. Love the new character of Hisako AKA Armor.

The arc, and Whedon's run with the series will apparently end with issue 24, but I hope that he continues with the title (and Cassaday with him) indefinitely. This book is just that good. I seriously want to emulate the writing and characterization in Astonishing- it's so entertaining and tight. I guess I should really seriously consider actually writing SCRIPTS for my comics. Heh.

Monday, February 26

Paper Cuts

If you're a fan or watch the Inu Yasha series, there are some SPOILERS ahead in case you haven't been keeping up with the manga.

While I'm more of a fan of the anime version of Rumiko Takahashi's Inu Yasha (the anime ended quite some time ago at episode 167), I did make it a point to look at updates to the manga online... at least until about a year ago. Imagine my surprise to check out Wikipedia on some charactes only to find out that there have been a couple of significant character deaths in the ongoing fantasy-adventure series.

Gone long after her time.

The more important recent death is Kikyo, the undead miko/priestess and ancestor of series' female protagonist Kagome Higurashi and former lover of Inu Yasha. After several close calls throughout the series, Kikyo finally, truly bites it after losing to her longtime nemesis Naraku, ultimately failing in her extended mission to try and stop the demon lord and his designs on the Shikon No Tama (Sacred Jewel). While this is a heavy blow to Inu Yasha, Kikyo is able to share a final moment with her first love before she finally gives up the ghost, her soul finally departing for the heavens amidst a promise to protect her beloved even after her (second) death.
The second significant death is Kanna, the child-like Youkai of Nihility who has been around for quite a long time (even longer than my personal fave, Kagura), a silent but very menacing presence. In recent issues of the manga, she stepped up her attack on the heroes, but finally succumbs after an extended battle. While she has been dismissed as soulless and totally obedient to her master, Naraku, her final parting message to Kagome- a revelation of what can destroy Naraku- reveals that there was more to her than met the eye.

I have to say though that neither death really affects me as much as Kagura's did years ago- Kikyo's a surprise, but I can't really feel bad for her seeing as how she's been dead for years anyway and this is actually a release for her- her absence though from now on in the series will surely have a big effect on things from now on, as she won't be the 'ace in the hole' for Inu and the gang. As for Kanna- well, as an enemy character you know she was going to die sometime- she went as understated as she lived, and that was at least fitting.
With Kikyo's death, the Inu Yasha manga is surely headed for it's finish, though Takahashi has stated that she wishes the series to progress and even surpass the 500-chapter mark (it's just shy of 480 as of now). Further anime installments have been speculated, but none yet confirmed. I'll probably try to grab the manga if I can soon, seeing as how things seem to be moving significantly. I want to see this story finished, at least. I wanna see how it all ends...