Gundam 00: Gravure Idols, Rock Bands, and Scrap Metal

July 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 14 Comments
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Tierias photobook

Tieria's Gravure Debut

For this post, I will be conducting a dissertation on the art of cross-dressing without ending up looking like a certain idiotic former soldier-turned-butler. I shall begin with the basics of makeup…” Oh shut up, Tieria. He’s one of the main characters in the series I’ll be ‘reviewing’ today… I wonder where he snuck in from. Ah well. Just try to ignore him…

Gundam 00 is about… why bother. Eat some wiki:

The series is set in 2307 AD. As a result of the depletion of fossil fuels, humanity had to search for a new source of power. The power was found in the form of massive arrays of solar power collectors orbiting the Earth, and supported by three orbital elevators, each one serving one of the three “power blocs” on the planet, namely UNION, controlling the region surrounding North America, Human Reform League (人類革新連盟; jinrui kakushin renmei), consisting of ChinaRussia and India, and AEU, which controls mainland Europe.[9]

With this nearly inexhaustible source of energy benefiting only the major powers and their allies, constant warfare erupts around the globe among minor countries for fuels and energy. Countries that once economically relied on the sale of fossil fuels have plunged into poverty. Some even believe that solar energy threatened the “promised land of God”, resulting in the 20-year Solar Wars. This chaos led to the formation of a private military organization, called Celestial Being (ソレスタルビーイング), dedicated to eradicating war and uniting humanity through the use of four humanoid machines called Gundams.[1][3] Mobile Suit Gundam 00 follows four mobile suit pilots termed Gundam Meisters ガンダムマイスター), sided with Celestial Being. The main protagonist is 16-year old Setsuna F Seiei (刹那・F・セイエイ?), a quiet, taciturn young man who grew up in the war-torn Krugis Republic. He pilots the GN-001 Gundam Exia, a high mobility mobile suit effective in melee combat.[10][11]

Oh, look, there’re links and references everywhere- how convenient. Anyway, that was the summary for season one, which was pretty good, and had quite a few people roaring ‘We have an epic! Finally, something to take our minds off the memories of Code Geass!’ I thought that too, although I didn’t ‘roar’. Well, if a tree could roar…

That said, Gundam 00 just couldn’t surpass Code Geass. Although watching the Meisters pull of ridiculous missions was quite breathtaking, that was it, really. Character development was there, alright, but not nearly enough. Not to mention all the irritating idiot characters, like the Russian Bear’s son, Mr. Immortal and those who do nothing but waste precious screen time, mainly Princess of a Dry Country whose hobby is watching TV… of course, she has to sing. Ever since Macross, I suppose, every mecha show needs a songbird to liven things up. This time, however, it leaned more towards ‘oh shut up, you’re polluting the airwaves’.

Season two was supposed to be the epic lid on the cookie-filled jar. Sadly, someone had been pinching the contents even before it started. Come to think of it, season two mainly consisted of scenes of fighting, running, fighting, and running again. Um, hold on. Didn’t Gundam Seed follow the exact same pattern? Time to face the facts, people- the Gundam anime franchise is nothing more than an extraordinarily long commercial for the model kits. What’s worse is, the folks at Sunrise know this very well, and they don’t care one bit.

So really, what really made Gundam 00 so great for me? The answer may sound a little odd, considering the fact that I just trashed the singing Princess two paragraphs above. It’s the music, which was just gorgeous, excluding the Princess’s silly little act:

First up, Daybreak’s Bell (Lyrics), by the ever-so-hard-to-type-out-and-pronounce L’Arc~en~Ciel. We all know them, so I’ll just move on. This one was used as the first opening theme for season one. From the lyrics, it’s pretty clear that it’s an anti-war song, which fits into the serie’s theme perfectly.

After that, Wana (Lyrics) by The Back Horn. They look like a bunch of head-shaking nuts in the promotional video, but besides that, the song is excellent. That said, I didn’t pay it much attention at first, but it just grew on me. Like Daybreak’s Bell, it looks like another anti-war song. Weird, attractive lyrics worthy of comparison to Ali Project’s ending themes for Code Geass. Still can’t beat Ali in terms of lyrical insanity, though.

This one is just gorgeous: Ash Like Snow (Lyrics) by The Brilliant Green. Like The Back Horn, this was my first encounter with them, but unlike Wana, Ash Like Snow inspired me to go out and look for more of their music, and it was worth it.

Friends (Lyrics) by Stephanie. Never heard of her either, but this song was nice too. In contrast to the first two songs, this one, along with Ash Like Snow, somehow seems a lot… happier. The lyrics are definitely not as dark, anyway.

Now for season two’s songs. While all four theme songs from season one were absolutely gorgeous, season two was a slight disappointment. Hakanaku mo Towa no Kanashimi (Lyrics, Listen) by UVERworld fell flat. Prototype (Lyrics, Listen) by Ishikawa Chiaki didn’t do it for me either.

Luckily, all was not lost. Maybe the director and producers grew some ears on the sides of their heads, but they returned to the audiosensory glory that was season one with the introduction of the following two songs:

…the first being Namida no Mukou (Lyrics) by Stereopony. Not that great, but still quite nice, and a refreshing hear after the previous two disasters.

And finally, Ito Yuna with Trust You (Lyrics). Hearing her voice in Gundam was a major surprise- actually, better than any plot twist that they could have thrown in. You hear that, Sunrise? Seriously, nothing else mattered anymore. I’m not a diehard  Yuna fan but this song was just… transcendental@.@

Tieria can have the rest, I don’t even feel like typing any further. I’m off to bed with Yuna in my ears. You still there after all this? Ah, you want a rating, no? Fine, here you go: 3.7/5 for both seasons. I don’t normally use decimals in my ratings, but I’ll make an exception for this one as I feel that (Never mind the music) season one was much better than season two. Nuff’ said. Still here? Then maybe you’d like to go here instead for some amusing episodic screenshot reviews of season two. Unless you’d rather listen to Tieria’s lecture.  I trust that it’ll be quite educational.

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Nabari no Ou: Of friendship stronger than even Frodo and Sam’s

June 15, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 13 Comments
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Nabari no Ou

Nabari no Ou

Before I go on, a few words: It’s been about a month since my exams, but I still haven’t gotten around to moving to wordpress.org. When will it happen? I keep saying ‘soon’, but nothing has happened yet. And I did say I wanted to move this holiday. Oh well.

Nabari no Ou. Finished this anime sometime this month, or the last. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it was good enough to warrant a review of some sort. I wonder why I decided to add Nabari to my watchlist, though. I didn’t know anything about it, not even the fact that there’s a Nabari manga as well. or that Square Enix was involved in it (No matter how minute their role may have been). All I knew about it was that it had something to do with ninjas- no, no twelve year old child soldiers involved, thankfully, but a more realistic, grittier breed of ninja. Oh, it’s also set in the ‘relatively’ real world. so logically there should be no devastating ninja techniques such as ‘summon giant smoking frog to give you lung cancer jutsu’, haha. Oh, and that it was supposedly loaded with bishounen.

That’s that. Time to start the review- what format should I go by? I’m feeling kinda lazy, so episodic it is- 26 episodes crammed into one post, without giving away anything about the storyline, I hope. Ah, how about eliminating all names from this review? No facts or plot development, either- only whatever thoughts I had while I watched (I kept notes). Hehe, here goes then:

Episode 1: Ah, spotted the first of many bishounen. Or did I get it wrong? Is he a guy or a girl? I can’t tell! Oh, so it’s a he. Hmm, so he uses his looks and Oscar-worthy acting skills to fool/manipulate others? The little devil (You’ll see why)! I think I can like this character…oh, and the first ninjutsu used in the show… reminded me of Ukyo from Ranma 1/2, haha. Mmm, okonomiyaki:3

P.S. In my notes, I wrote down ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. Me and my blasted code… I don’t even remember what it means, bah. You’ll just have to watch it and figure it out for yourselves… oh wait, I got it. Jack here has the amazing ability to grow beanstalks… and he doesn’t need seeds or sunlight, haha. This ability is supposed to be some sort of deus ex machina thingy, but no worries regarding this, as you will soon see- unless you’re the type that enjoys lots of fireworks. In every episode. Every three minutes.

Episode 2: Saw someone who looked like Ishida Uryuu from Bleach. Ishida’s a boring character, but the impression I got from this one was… that I’d like to club him over his head. He’s an older, irritating version of Ishida. And he won’t shut up! Oh, hey, here’s something interesting… the guy mentioned in Episode 1 above has the same ‘school diet’ as me… all he had for lunch was one small box of milk or something. I normally have a small bun or a small Vitagen… or just wait for dinner at home:p

Ahaha what weird clothes! Someone’s granny (Or was it aunt?) has a good sense of style! Granny’s boy (Or auntie’s boy) had to get his clothes changed, because he looked too ridiculous. There were three others travelling with him, one older guy (A bishie with an interesting half-foreign name and a curious phobia), a younger guy, about the same age as him (But rather plain and annoying, plus I don’t like his hair), and a samurai girl. I was looking forward to seeing how Granny’s boy would look like in samurai girl’s clothes, but I ran out of luck there.

Episode 3: Things start to get serious. Is it just me or am I jumping back and forth between past and present tense? Oh well. Another bishie showed up, but I wasn’t too interested. Hold on, where are all the girls?

Episode 4: An interesting scene involving one major character, resting after the noisy events in the previous episode: “That was the first time I shouted out in such a loud voice” (Cough) “My throat hurts”. A touching moment, but I could have laughed there. That’s exactly how I feel at times- I don’t talk much, so lively, sustained conversations tend to wear me out quickly.

I mentioned the  Ishida lookalike earlier, but I forgot to mention that he’s a hentai who dreams of making a harem. It’s hard to tell if he was joking when he said that, but still…=,= Oh, and he’s surrounded by women anyway. They actually tolerate his eccentricity… I suppose his good points make up for it. He’s also the chief strategist for one ninja clan that’s pitted against another, and we are shown a glimpse of his plans… what is this, Death Note? Code Geass? He’s certainly no Lelouch or Light though, haha.

Episode 5: Hmm, let’s skip this one, shall we? Nothing to see here, really *whistles*… All right, I just didn’t think of anything to say for this episode. Next!

Episode 6: Something one bishie said caught my attention: “I haven’t spoken this much for some time- I’m a little tired”. Yup, this one hit the spot, more so than the kid who shouted for the first time in his life back in episode 4. Starting to like this guy more. Oh, and his coat is just gorgeous!

Episode 7-8: I’m hungry…><

Episode 9: About this new character- nope, not a bishie this time. He looks like Setsuna F. Seiei from Gundam 00… only with ugly hair, cat eyes, and a mouth that never shuts up… plus he’s a total fanboy for his work partner. Having your life saved by him is no excuse for that, kiddy.

Episode 10: Some lady: “You’re disturbing the neighbours!” lol, smart woman. Wonder if she could have stopped the next fight, between the samurai siblings, with another intelligent statement? Perhaps “You’re crushing the flowers!” About the problem between the samurai siblings- I can’t help but wonder if their relationship will resemble that of Uchiha Itachi and his kid bro Sasuke… quite a few similarities already.

Setsuna clone isn’t just a fanboy, it looks like he’s been reading way too much yaoi manga since we last met…

Episode 11: Samurai girl runs perfectly well with crutches?! Har? My brain snapped in half. Ah, and we’re given the answer to the ‘samurai sibling’ subplot… they aren’t going through the Uchiha pattern, but rather the R2 Lelouch master plan.

Episode 12-13: Mmm… chocolate would be nice… or blueberry cheese tarts…

Episode 14: One bishie and one growing-up-to-be-one bishie hiding in a box. For some reason this reminded me of Hotaru no Haka, of the brother and sister living in a cave. Many years ago, I’d probably have thought of Robinson Crusoe instead. Bishie! Don’t die on me! I’ll even give you three exclamation marks!!!

Episode 15: Blasted headache=,=

Episode 16: New ending theme, and a new video to go with it. Made me wonder though, whether the producers really wanted to have made Nabari into a yaoi romance.

Episode 17-18: Nothing here, move on…

Episode 19: Square Enix’s rumoured character design guide came to mind: start with a drawing of a female character, and make it more masculine. Samurai boy! His neck is so thin, I feel as if I could snap it between my thumb and forefinger!

Come to think of it, Setsuna clone and Samurai boy seem to resemble Setsuna and his Gundam… nah, ditch that thought. But does the leader of the baddies do nothing but drive his kimono-clad Kansai-ben speaking (Presumed) wife around?

Episode 20: Bishie with the nice coat saw the ‘devil’ in his companion for the first time! I wonder what he thought of it, haha. Shinigami (God of death) and a devil, huh. Nice pair, actually^^;

Episode 21-22: Nothing to say here…

Episode 23: Baddies are revealed to be selfish, blind, irritating, cynical adults, who look down on youngsters and think they’re doing everyone a favour. Bah. A disappointment, really. Off with their heads

Oh, someone important died. Two people who loved him screamed in pain, but… why oh why did they have to take turns to do it?

Episode 24: Tacky space scenery and fish floating around. Uh…

Episode 25-26: The end. All right, I couldn’t resist- here’s some more for you:

Final thoughts: This show really wasn’t too bad, actually. I’d have liked to see more action, but that’s alright- however, it feels as if the ninja world was just foil, or even plain background for the main theme, which was really the relationship between the shinigami and little devil. Despite the lack of action, I was quite relieved that the ‘beanstalk’ power wasn’t overused. Finally, 26 episodes seemed a little too long. Nabari gets 4/5 for me- mostly for character interaction and development.

I turned my head and the ponytail I never knew I had whipped me

April 16, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Posted in Thoughts | Leave a comment
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This is a going to be a rather pointless post, mainly, as they say out there, for the lulz. There is a tiny little point to this though… so try think of this as an indirect announcement, or, perhaps, what a politician says when he/she’s out for re-election and is completely out of ideas. Anyway, this all originated from yet another Facebook quiz I was invited to take:

Levin just took the “What signature hairstyle are you?” quiz and the result is Ponytail.

You are classic and versatile, no-fuss, no-muss. Casual and laid-back, you go with the flow and adapt to your environment easily, from cocktail party to movie night at home in your pajamas. Everyone loves you because you are genuine and real, and not into all the attention and drama.

Hmm. Let’s see. Classic. Depends on which definition of the word it’s taking- I’ll go for the positive one. Versatile? Definitely, I can fit into most situations without much fuss. Most, anyway. No-fuss? I’m easily irritated, so that one’s out of the window. And whatever the heck is ‘muss’? A distant relative of musk? Go with the flow? I thought the flow usually goes around me. Oh well. Movie night at home in your pajamas? Oh please, I’ve nonchalantly gone to lectures wearing those pajamas. Genuine. Of course. What else could I be, a genie? No thanks, I like having legs.  Not into the attention? Quite true, although it can be pleasant now and then. As for the drama… I don’t enjoy being thrown into it, but I cope. I do enjoy watching it enfold, however:3

Here’s a little online conversation that developed as a result of this quiz- let’s just call the other guy Gundam-baka, since that’s the hairstyle he wanted:

Gundam-baka: lol.. billy from 00.. @@

Yours Truly: Nonono… Kenshin;)

Gundam-baka: lol.. no no.. sephiroth.. lol

Yours truly: Sephiroth’s hair is free fall.. not a ponytail><;

Gundam-baka: then billy lo.. – –

Yours Truly: Haha Billy is lame:P

Gundam-baka: lol.. he discover trans am got bushido.. xD

Yours Truly: He’s an overgrown crybaby:3

Gundam-baka: lol.. then.. nana!!

Yours Truly: …That’s fine with me^^;;

Gundam-baka: omg.. i wan setsuna.. trans-am burst mode.. so gay.. ~_~

…just goes to show how nuts I am about NANA. I should have done a review of the anime (And movies) months ago. I keep saying I will, but, ah. Time aplenty after exams… *whistles away*- If only I could whistle. Bah. 

 

Photoshoot: Prospective Supermodels and Violent Plushies

March 18, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Art | Leave a comment
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日本語をもっと使わぬとやばいから、今回日本語でポストしてみる。確かに…二回目かな?少ないよね…で,今日のポストはダン二さんのサイトで見た「00長門」を凌ぐために書いた。なんだか理不尽な理由見たいけど、まあいっか。さて、始めようかな…

Just to make sure my Japanese doesn’t rot without my classes, this post will be in Japanese, with simple English (and slightly different) underneath. I do believe this is the second post I’ve done in Japanese… anyway, this is a response to a post entitled “00 Nagato“. Moving on…

こなたに羽だと!!

こなたに羽だと!!

「00長門」を作ったYuuichi-kunは1・144の00ガンダムと涼宮ハルヒのFIGMAを使って素敵なコンビを。でもこのこなちゃんSTRIKE・FREEDOMを倒すことはとても無理だと思うよ^^;あっ、そうだ。ちなみにわっちが使ったのはおなじく1・144STRIKE・FREEDOMガンダムと泉こなたのがちゃぽんです。

Yuuichi-kun used a 1/144 00 Gundam and a Figma for his piece of art, I believe- and it was a delightful sight indeed- although I don’t think the ’00 Nagato’ stands a chance against the Kona-chan Strike Freedom^^; Ah, yes- Mine was made using a 1/144 Strike Freedom and an Izumi Konata gachapon.

長門よ...モデルのポーズは止めとけって...

長門よ...モデルのポーズは止めとけって...

かわいいじゃろう、長門ちゃん~でもやっぱりFIGMAはがちゃぽんより綺麗だな…なんだかモデルっぽいだよね…あっ,埃のことは…見ない振りにして置こう^^;;

Nagato-chan is cute, isn’t she? But the Figma definitely looks a lot better than the gachapon- that can’t be helped. But she looks a lot like a model in this picture, methinks… ah, and let’s just pretend that the dust isn’t there…^^;;

つかさちゃんも出番があるよ~

つかさちゃんも出番があるよ~

かわいすぎて何を言うべきか、わかんなくなちゃった。えと…「バルサミコ酢」…?^^;残念ながら、よこっぱいは見せられない。まったくもう、変体さんばかりだね…

Too cute- I’m lost for words. Erm, ‘balsamic vinegar’? ^^; No yokoppai for you, I’m afraid- Tsukasa’s not that kinda girl:p

どーもくんも登場っす。

どーもくんも登場っす。

最後に言っとくけど、どーもくんに勝てる者はいない。

And last but not least- a brief warning: nothing, and no one is capable of defeating my Domo-kun. Notice the Strike Freedom in pieces at his feet^^;;

P.S: These and more here.

How to turn a Gundam into a Samurai for Dummies

December 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 1 Comment
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I had absolutely nothing to do. Spent a few hours reading Rurouni Kenshin before retiring to my room… great manga, that one. Just reached chapter 95, where Kenshin is about to learn the ougi of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu (飛天御剣流).

As I was lying on my bed I took a look upwards and saw my little 1/144 Strike Freedom sitting on it’s shelf gathering dust behind Haruhi, Mikuru and Tsukasa (gachapon, not figmas, sadly><), staring at me with dolorous plasticky eyes.

I took a quick trip down memory lane: I’d gotten the kit while I was in Japan, in the electronics section of some department store in Osaka (or was it Tokyo?)- don’t ask me what a gunpla was doing there. 2500¥. Thought it was a bargain and bought it.

Eureka moment. I’d arrived in Japan on an economy class ticket, and would be returning in identical fashion, albeit with heavier bags. The journey lasted about 8 hours- I couldn’t sleep at all, and my legs felt like slapped sausages. So why not put the kit together on the flight back?

I think I must be the first person to build a gunpla on a plane 5000 feet (I’m guessing. I don’t remember the exact height, so shoot me if I’m horrendously wrong) above sea level. I succeeded in staving of the pain- had nearly completed the kit by the time we touched down in Singapore (short stop before continuing to KLIA). Also noticed that this time round, the flight stewardesses didn’t offer me any alcoholic drinks:p

So how does all this connect with the opening paragraph? Well I’m watching season 2 of Gundam 00 right now, and although the story is alright, it’s gotten a tad dull. So I thought, wouldn’t Gundam be more interesting if they included breathtaking sword fights ala Ruroken? The following two pictures are a result:

ZGMFX-20 Saitou Hajime

ZGMF-X20 Saitou Hajime

Here, we have Strike Freedom attempting to perform Saitou Hajime‘s typical Gatotsu Ichishiki (牙突・壱式). It’s not really accurate- High Grade kits lack the necesary… twistability. But hey, it’s as close as I could get:p Took the shield off- just imagine Saitou performing the Gatotsu while holding a shield=.=;

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3179/3117234277_fc7d87eee2_b.jpg

ZGMF-X20 Shinomori Aoshi

And for the final pic, we have Strike Freedom imitating Shinomori Aoshi‘s Onmyou Kousa (陰陽交叉). Would have preferred to try his ougi, the Kaiten Kenbu Roku Ren (回天剣舞・六連), but didn’t remember how it looked like.

And that’s it. Not bad, eh? Some information about a  legendary manga (Ruroken), recollections of one bit of my 2006 trip to Japan, and Strike Freedom playing with it’s swords. Kira (Yamato, it’s pilot- not Kira from Death Note) would be pleased.

p.s. also posted here on dannychoo.com:
Meisters should learn Kenjutsu

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