Category Archives: anime/manga

..an “unfinished” life..

Background Music: “Alumina” by Nightmare

Reading: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Technically, this is an entry about things I’ve left “hanging”, be it books, anime, j-drama or drawings. I can’t believe my day-off is almost finished (again). I have a “low-key” headache (meaning not an “all-out-stay-in-bed” kind, more like a dull throbbing behind my eyes) due to my irregular sleeping habits.

Cut. I fell asleep just after writing the entry above. Woke up at around 11:30 pm (if I were on the job, I’d be blabbing away).

Let us start with books. Can’t remember all of them.

“Night Watch” by Sergei Lukyanenko – I bought this one last year (November to be exact). Read it on and off for a couple of months. I got as far as the second part. But then rapidly lost interest. Not sure why.

“Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevski – I have nothing against Russians, believe me. I acquired this March(?) last year. It was a truly engaging novel. The protagonist, Raskolonikov was a rather tragic and complex character. I’m somewhere in the beginning (I read the longish preface and the author’s biography before going for the actual novel). The most probable reason why I got stuck was that it was buried beneath a pile of rubbish, I actually thought I’d lost it. Thank goodness my father did some cleaning up. I just need to jump start my interest.

“Atonement” by Ian McEwan – a recently bought title. Made it through about 1/4s of the novel. Then I somehow lost interest (for now). I suspect it will be like The Golden Compass, I stopped reading a couple of pages near the end, but then one day I decided to pick it up and finished the book.

“The Subtle Knife” by Philip Pullman – almost done with this one. Almost 3/4s. I just don’t want to finish it before I get the third book, The Amber Spyglass.

“The Wolves of Calla” (Stephen King), “Jarhead” by Anthony Swofford, “The Little Friend” by Donna Tartt and “Hannibal Rising” by Thomas Harris – All were acquired at almost the same time (sometime during February). Stuck in the “reading limbo”. I’ll probably start at them again, one of these days.

I really have to stop buying even more books. (Not)

Now on to Anime. Most of these were the ones I’m watching at Crunchyroll.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – I started off as a very enthusiastic fan of the series. The first couple of episodes were well-paced and well-plotted, character development was right on the mark too. But then as the show progressed, I began to notice the appearance of “unnecessary characters” – the Thrones for example – (most of whom “died”/”disappeared” in the season finale – but they were so under-developed that I couldn’t care less if they lived or died). In any case, I’m planning to see this to the (bitter-I hope not) end. I liked the main protagonist and some of his comrades (I just can’t stand the too frequent fan service at times, just look at Sumeragi Lee Noriega and you’ll see what I’m talking about). Plot-wise? It’s headed for “bad” (Sunrise seems to favour spectacular explosions to decent writing these days). They are trying to squeeze-in so many concepts at once. I know this should not matter, but the choice of colours were a bit of a turn off as well, pink seems to be a little bit too prominent (even in space explosions??)

Turn A Gundam – Now if you are looking for great character development (and I mean “book” great) and reasonable plot, this series will definitely capture your attention (I imagine those who favour explosions will be bored to tears). It is a while before anything happens (the main character is not a “brooding-type”, he is more like Kira Yamato-minus the excessive crying and other annoying habits. He is “good” without getting on your nerves. The essentially normal, decent fellow.) The animation is pretty old (they still used good -old-fashioned cells), this is the last Gundam Project Yoshiyuki Tomino was directly involved in. Besides Loran (the main guy), I also liked the character of Dianna Soreil (some reviewers even claim that she was one of the most well-written female characters in the Gundam Series – intelligent, mature, reserved and a great leader. I know, I’m getting a bit biased here ;p). So why did I stop watching? I got as far as Episode 35. I’ll just buy the DVD. It’s better that way. EDIT: checked Crunchyroll a few minutes ago. Guess what? The series was licensed, so I won’t be able to watch it there even if wanted to.

On a side note, I miss Gundam Wing (I left both of my copies at home).

TV Series and J-Drama.

“Koshonin” (The Negotiator) – I’m not sure I’ll even get around to finishing this. Having Yu Shirota as one of the main leads is, sadly, not enough. The actress playing the title character, just cannot “act”.

“Supernatural” – I finally finished Season One! I thought I’d be forever stuck. I started a couple of episodes from Season Two. Well, it does get repetitive at times.

Gaaagh! It’s already 1:00 in the morning. Mine eyes are stinging. :p

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Because it’s a FIELD!

Listening to: “Dead Things” by Philip Glass (The Hours OST)

Have you ever felt as though your brain insists upon running on multiple tracks, all at once?

On one hand, I am into “Twisted 8” by Jessica Zafra (have read the first three or four articles – this woman never fails to amuse/amaze me); while watching “American Gangster” (Denzel Washington; Russell Crowe) – finished about 1/4 of the film.

And also re-watching “Life” (a rather excellent J-drama, it takes one deep into the “darker side” of high school life – a dash of rape, self-mutilation, abusive/indifferent parents, uncaring teachers, class hierarchy and bullying) and for people who at one time or another, have been “targets” of bullying – like yours truly, believe it or not – it was something of a trip to the memory lane (Freddy Kruger Edition). Although most of what “Ayumu-chan” (the main protagonist) had to go through never happened to me (like being beaten with a mop, while inside the girls bathroom; or having her seat thrown out of the window!); I think the most poisonous of these “bullying tactics” were the “spread of nasty rumors” about one’s person (“have you heard? he/she…blah, blah,blah?”) Need I say more? But the good thing is, instead of taking “revenge” on the main perpetrator, Ayumu (and friends – Miki Hatori and Yuki Sonoda) decide to fight the act of bullying itself.

Went to the Mall of Asia yesterday, almost everything was ON SALE at National. I got “Jarhead” by Anthony Swafford (“a Marine’s chronicle of the Gulf war and other battles”) for P97.00 and “Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag” by Edgardo M. Reyes for only P148.00 (I’m sure you still remember that Bembol Rocco/Hilda Koronel film). Reading snippets from “The Little Friend” by Donna Tartt (part murder-mystery, part family saga) as well, I got this one at a magazine stand from where I work. The pile of books beside my PC is steadily increasing, I might have to take some of them back home (where my trusty book shelf awaits, I’m not sure if there’s still space though..aargh!) And I’m not even done with “Hannibal Rising” yet, and not a page on “Dark Tower V: The Wolves of Calla”.

I also visited my mother’s friend who’s staying at the Manila Penn. She was at the 9th floor I think. The deserted, carpeted corridors, lamp lights and wooden doors, made me think of the Stanley Kubrick film, “The Shining”. I keep having visions of Jack Nicholson (with the bloody ax, no less) suddenly lunging at me from one of the closed doors – deranged smile and all. “It’s time for your medicine!”

Her room’s near the glowing neon-red sign, Fire Exit; which added to the spooky atmosphere and much later we had a “ghostly-door bell” incident (open the door and there’s nobody there!) But of course, the experience wasn’t all bad. I had a chance to sit at the balcony, listening to the jazz band while reading – and pretending I’m standing alone on some far away beach, endless and eternal; nothing but the blessed sound of the waves as they hit the sand – for about an hour or so (back to reality after which). Too bad I had to leave early, because the “mini-orchestra” starts to perform at about 7:00 -10:00 in the evening.

Lastly, I took a good look at my apartment room today, something I haven’t done in about 2 months; and concluded that it would be a “mess” from “a certain point of view”. Aside from book piles, there are also several boxes and bags (some of which I have absolutely no idea as to what the contents are), pencil cases (I think I should by a desk organizer or something), my “art case”, wooden models (one, which is a fairly accurate imitation of the human skeletal system – nicknamed “Adam” and another called “Steg” which is short for stegosaurus – I’m a sucker for wooden models obviously, I’m thinking of getting the “Galleon” ship model, but where else to put it???), several CDs/DVDs (I suspect more can be found under the table – better have a second look), some newspapers and several magazines that I no longer remember buying. Yes, IT IS a mess, but I’m comfortable that way (I’d be ballistic if anyone tried to “tidy” up – my brother threw a fit for days because my mother attempted to clean his room, and in the process he lost several drawing studies and “manuscripts” – my mother thought they were just incoherent jumble of words. haha).

Finished watching “Stardust” (always wanted to see it, but I can’t find any decent copies, until now). Love the Neil Gaiman book? love the movie (oh and on a related subject, my cousin who works at FullyBooked, told my mother that Neil Gaiman did a book signing at the Green Hills outlet just a few months ago…waah, if only I’d heard about it sooner!) Excellent soundtrack too, especially “Rule the World” by Take That. Catchy tune.

Guard: I’m charged with guarding the portal to another world. And you’re asking me to just let you through?

Dunstan Thorn: Yes. Because, let’s be honest, it’s a field. Look, do you see another world out there? No. You see a field. Do you see anything nonhuman? No. You know why? Because it’s a field!

Well, don’t mind me. I feel rather “muddled” today, as though I’m a zombie. I think I need sleep, but every time I try to, I get all sorts of bizarre dreams (the only time it is possible for me to have a dreamless sleep is when I’m extremely exhausted – like after that little mountain climbing “disaster” when I was in high school – we were stuck in a rapidly flooding river at 10:00 in the evening and had to be rescued, thanks to bad luck and bad coordination.)

Happy Holidays!

Listening to: “The Scientist” by Coldplay

WiP: “Hyakkimaru & Dororo” (based on the 2007 movie, started yesterday – did the outline sketch for both and managed to shade Dororo’s face, maybe my “magnum opus” for 07, but then it could be my Jan. 08 offering, depending on when I’ll finish it.) And I have to have that “Mrs. Coulter” portrait scanned, it will probably be my year-ender.

Yey! Finally Episode 10 of “Tantei Galileo” was out (no SARS subs yet though, just the RAW version). Interesting ending. Yukawa-sensei was both funny and irritating 😀 Now, I sincerely hope there will be a Season 2. Ah! And there will be a movie (out by 2008), I heard.

Episode 12 of “Gundam 00” was available as well. No big development. Setsuna came back home, and the situation at fictional Azadistan is starting to resemble that of the recent events in real-world Pakistan.

Tried watching a couple of movies yesterday. Cesar Montano’s “Ligalig” – serial killer/split persona thing – was a “mixed bag” of sorts. Story’s as predictable as hell (just imagine Johnny Depp’s “Secret Window”). But compared to other local films, well, at least it tried to break some conventions (with little success though). Then there’s the Thai film, “The Unseeable”. Creepy. But the plot is quite similar to “The Others”.

Well then, Happy Holidays!

one missed call…

Listening to: “Luka” – Suzanne Vega

8th day of the Asian Movie/TV Marathon. So far I’ve seen:

“Neighbor No. 13” – a j-horror of sorts. Basically a split personality drama, with a twist ending. Not too bad. Although, why the mom would leave her son to a stranger she had known only for a couple of weeks, was beyond me. Great atmosphere though, keeps your curiosity levels high.

“Bambino” – a j-drama consisting of 11 episodes. Another Jun Matsumoto outing. Quite good, but “exhausting” to watch; because the lead character tend to mark “victory and defeat” with bouts of crying. I mean, it’s fine to see a guy teary-eyed once in a while, but seeing him like that for almost every episode was different (makes me want to poke him, “get it together man!”) He’s pretty likable in the end though, all is forgiven. Yes, and my unanswered query, when are they going to buy a dishwasher?? It’s a “cooking” show, so don’t watch this on an empty stomach. All that mouth-watering Italian cuisine! Bene!

“Chukushin Ari” (One Missed Call) the series – 10 episodes. Remember that creepy ring tone? (I actually had that on one of my phones a while back). Finished it last night. This one made it to my favourites list. Better than all 3 movies put together (argh! I heard there’s an American remake on the way). Never a dull moment (keeps you guessing until the end), interesting plot (with a few holes of course), great characters. The ending was a bit bizarre though (what do you expect?) Again, I don’t find it that scary, more “dramatic”.

All the usual themes are there: family, friendship, love, vengeance and forgiveness. Yes, those rather perverted teachers (“You are the one I love!” Ewww! If my my high school teacher, whom I look up to as a second father/older brother, told me something like that – no matter how good-looking he was -, all my respect for him would vanish in about 2 seconds.) are partly to blame for the whole fiasco. Jesus H. Christ! Can’t they find someone their own age? The girls were high school students (and teachers are “supposed” to be the advisers/second parents), for crying out loud!

Ah yes! And finally Episode 9 of “Tantei Galileo” is up at SARS (takes about 2 hours to download the “bit torrent” though), will watch it when I get back! 😀

Galileo…Sees

gYes finally, the streaming Episode 8 of “Galileo” is up. Although it’s not yet available on CrunchyRoll, it can be found at VEOH. Another interesting case for our “duo”. This one supposedly involves “teleportation”.

It turns out our professor enjoys cooking as well (and he’s rather good at it too!) Ah, and another amusing exchange:

Utsumi: So, you’ve got lots of spare time today.

Yukawa: Do I look like I have lots of spare time?

Utsumi: I mean, this is not an experiment, is it?

Yukawa: Are you saying that if I wasn’t performing experiments in the lab, I have lots of spare time?

(Utsumi prepares for a lengthy telling off)

I have spare time if I wasn’t working, that’s truly a simplistic reasoning. Do you go to the rest room because you have spare time? Do you take a bath and sleep because you have spare time? I am making the most efficient use of this limited time into my hobby.

(by this time Utsumi’s eyes were closed, she’s nodding vigorously, not to mention gritting her teeth)

At the same time, I am engaging in social interaction, a sequence of actions required for me to live. In other words, I am very busy right now.

_________________________________________

Student A: He’s losing his mind for sure!

Student B: I’ve never seen the professor reading books like those.

Student C: He’s the type of person who never believes in occult stuff.

Student D: I overheard him saying…”I wonder how the ‘Dokodemo Door’ works?” He said it with a serious face!

(note: Dokodemo Door – Doraemon’s travel tool)

Student E: Then he’s already lost his mind!

a

(Yukawa-sensei’s cooking) = YUM!

b2

(Utsumi-kun’s cooking) = “What on earth is that?!” [quote by Yukawa-sensei] Utsumi swore she “could vouch for the taste ” though.

Waaah! Only TWO more episodes left! I hope there’s a Season 2!

…thoughts part deaus…

Sixth day of the Asian TV/Movie Marathon.

00Watching: “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” (I’m done with episodes 1-10 – I double checked Shinsen subs to see if I’m missing anything, turns out Episode 11 hasn’t been aired yet in Japan.)

So far so good. The story seems to be running smoothly (filled as usual with skulduggery and political machinations). My thoughts on some of the characters:

Gundam Meisters:

  • Setsuna F. Seiei – quiet, brooding, your regular anti-social (you’ve seen him before). Apparently, he murdered his parents in order to become a member of a certain terrorist organization a few years back. It’s obvious that he was traumatized (and very remorseful of what he had done). Generally, he prefers to keep his thoughts to himself (baffling his colleagues with some of his actions – for example, opening the cockpit during a battle); However, in a rare fit of anger (EP 8), he revealed his true identity to Marina Ismail (Azadistan’s current monarch). It’s a good thing Marina did not believe him (at the end of EP 8 though, she may have changed her mind. How many Gundams do you find lurking outside your plane??) There appears to be “bad blood” between them; Azadistan was responsible for the destruction of Setsuna’s country. Hence, our hero has no faith in “peaceful solutions”.

I’ve been reading complaints that Setsuna is “dull”. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I simply do not find him “dull”. Well, it’s better than Kira Yamato’s constant “bawling” – while he was crying, other people are dying!

“No one’s going to shag you if you’re always crying.” O__o (never mind, it’s a quote from a totally unrelated movie)

  • Lockon Stratos (w/ Haro) – whose real name was “Neil Dylandy”. Team “sniper” (his general attitude reminds me of FF8’s Irvine. Laid-back, easy-going, with more than a few skeletons inside his closet – minus the womanizing). Not much was revealed about him at this point, only that he lost most of his family during a terrorist bombing. Of the four Meisters, he has the most “stable” personality.
  • Allelujah/Hallelujah Haptism – it is clear that this one is very, very disturbed. He suffers from “split-personality”. As “Allelujah” he is gentle and almost shy (reminds me a little bit of Trowa Barton actually), but once the “Hallelujah” persona takes over, he becomes rather sadistic and murderous. He seems to have a certain connection to “Human Reform League’s” Soma Peiris (it was heavily hinted that both of them were results of human experimentation).
  • Tieria Erde – the owner of the “hairy gundam”. I was a bit surprised, a Gundam with “hair-like” features! There better be an acceptable explanation to this! Anyway, he seems very loyal to this “Veda”. Doesn’t really care about the welfare of his team mates (he’s even prepared to kill some of them if he thinks they made a mistake; or broke “Celestial Being’s” rules). Usually at odds with Setsuna. Aside from his preference for pink sweaters (!), almost nothing was revealed about this guy yet.

    Others:

    • (Princess) Marina Ismail – Azadistan’s reigning monarch. Attempting to find a solution to her country’s economic problems, she embarks on a “diplomatic tour” to seek help from more capable nations (with little success at the moment). “Saved” Setsuna from the police after mistaking him as one of her subjects. And as you may have guessed, she believes that peace cannot be achieved through war. Seems worried or sad most of the time – but becomes quite fiery when defending her ideals – and with reason, on top of economic problems, she also had to contend with Azadistan’s warring factions.

    On a related subject: It’s quite clear that Marina is Setsuna’s designated “other half”. But the 8 year age difference, plus the fact that Setsuna is still a MINOR would be a problem, if the interaction is not handled appropriately. I think the focus should be on their “political” relationship w/ very, very, very subtle hints. To turn this into a full-blown “romance” (ala Cagalli/Athrun) would be severely unbecoming!

    • Wang Liu-Mei – one of “Celestial Being’s” more visible agents (and an international celebrity as well). Usually in charge of operations and fund-raising. As for her true intentions or motivations, nothing was revealed until now. Almost always accompanied by bodyguard Hong Long.
    • Alejandro Corner – UN ambassador and “Celestial Being’s” secret watchdog. He reminds me of Treize, with his talk about “the future” and all that. 😀

    Waah! Tired now. More descriptions when I feel better.The show features “kick-ass” themes as well. Daybreak’s Bell by L-Arc-en-Ciel, is one of those songs I didn’t have “trouble digest ing”. Oh, and honestly, the ending song “Wana” by The Black Horn sounds as though it was sung by “Parokya Ni Edgar’s” Chito Miranda! 😀 And let me add, there’s a “pink” (!!) mobile suit here (owned by Soma Peiris)! *sigh* I’m sure there are more suitable colours for a mobile suit, than…er…pink (!) Come to think of it I’ve seen a lot of pink in this series (Wang Liu-Mei’s car, some of the explosions, light reflections…maybe they could have tried..er…blue? green? perhaps? 🙂

    …thoughts…

    Listening to: “I Love You…I’ll Kill You” by ENIGMA

    Made another GW “photo-manip” while browsing through CrunchyRoll, looking for another movie to watch and review. Actually, I just finished my third one today. Something called “Reincarnation” (Japan), The plot was quite easy to discern. I found the entire film “flat”. There were elements from “The Shining” thrown in (happens in a hotel filled with murderous spirits for one thing). The lead was basically a non-character (shakes head*) and that goes for the entire cast (with the exception of Shun Oguri, too bad he has a very small part here). You know its bad when you laugh at the supposed-to-be-scary parts. But I wouldn’t say it’s “horrible”, just as I said before, “flat”. I was about to watch “Ichi the Killer” (another Takashi Miike outing) but when I found out that it’s heavily edited (due to scenes of graphic violence and gore), I decided not to. I don’t like “mutilated” films, much better to watch the whole thing as it is (I’ll see if I could find the uncut version at VEOH, but I doubt it).

    gw

    I also wanted to see if they have streaming Gundam Wing, as I’ve left my copy in San Pablo City. Turns out they do, or did (it was removed due to licensing though). After 10 years, it’s still my favourite. Although I’ve seen SEED and Destiny in their entirety as well (and I found both engaging). But Gundam Wing has Heero Yuy; SEED’s main protagonist doesn’t sit well with me, apart from the fact that I generally prefer “Byronic anti/heroes” – those seemingly-cold, sullen, brooding characters, as they seem more interesting. And (maybe it’s just me), but SEED does get confusing at times, not because of the story, but because there are SO many characters (partly because supposedly-dead ones keep on coming back, and then they add another “pile” of new ones on top of that)! There’s a scattered feel to the proceedings and “character harmony”, (its an elusive quality I always look for, a sense that the characters are somehow “connected”, it’s either it’s there or it’s not) I’m sorry to say was very minimal.

    Other CrunchyRollers were talking about a new Gundam Series (Gundam 00), I think. I’ll check it out sometime (streaming Episodes 1-10 are available now 😀 ). And according to Wikipedia:

    After a sneak preview of Gundam 00 on September 1, 2007, Anime News Network remarked “striking parallels” between the series and an earlier installment of the metaseries, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (1995): “Like Gundam Wing, Gundam 00’s main story begins with hyper-powerful Gundam units appearing at various locales to execute slightly-less-than-Dynasty-Warriors-level mayhem in synchronized phases of a paramilitary operation.”[5] Later, Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network suggested that just like Mobile Suit Gundam SEED adapted the original Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) for modern audiences, Gundam 00 is an attempt to do the same with Gundam Wing.[8] He also remarked that “its political flavour […] is distinctly post-9/11“.[8]

    Oh, and the main protagonist looks promising as well. Finally, Goodbye Kira Yamato; Hello Setsuna F. Seiei!

    A Gundam Meister and pilot of the Exia Gundam. He grew up in the war torn Middle East and was discovered as a pilot with huge potential by Celestial Being at the age of 14. He generally keeps his feelings inside and comes across as cool young man.

    He can be described as taciturn and comes off as a knowledgeable young man. (from Wikipedia)

    Now who does that remind you of??