Manga Cafe - Paris

Of all the greatest finds during my trip to Paris, the Manga Cafe sits at the top of my list. When my cousin first told me about the Manga Cafe, my immediate thoughts centered on scenes from "Comic Party" and those you can find all over Japan, but I knew that would be too good to be true.

Much to my surprise, the Manga Cafe reached beyond any of my expectations. A warm sense of hospitality and a sense of belonging is not without presence. Shelves upon shelves of manga are available at your fingertips for 3 euros for the first hour (4 euros during peak hours). The air and environment of it all is hard to explain, but you really get a sense of an atmosphere that's full of other manga-loving fans. The manager is super nice and even remembered us when we came back for a second visit.

A soiree just happened to be the main event that night as fans learned how to play Go (Japanese Checkers - recall "Hikaru no Go"). Coffee is obviously available (part of your 3 or 4 euro bill) andsecond hand mangas (bound to have some rare titles) are available for purchase, as well as DVDs. Video games (PS2 Naruto that night) and free internet access is also available. The seating arrangements allow maximum lounging capacity. The words and pictures really tell only half the story. If you're ever in the Paris area, the Manga Cafe should definitely be one of your stops.

For more information, check out www.mangacafe.fr (in french only) and be sure to check out their gallery.



Satoshi Kon does it again. The genius who brought us "Perfect Blue", "Millennium Actress", and of course, "Tokyo Godfathers," blesses us with another Kon-original. I was fortunate enough to catch it in Paris, released just 2 weeks before. This movie is set to be released in the U.S. in May 2007.

Much to Kon's style, the music, animation, and plot is anything but ordinary. Anyone who's seen at least one of his movies knows they are in for a treat. Straying away from the dark and gloomy theme, though not avoiding it, this movie crosses the realms of interpretation as the boundaries between reality and the dream world are examined. Set in the not-so-distant future, a device called the DC Mini, which allows people to enter dreams originally created for therapeutic purposes, is stolen. It's up to Dr. Atsuko and her alter ego, Paprika, to try to save the day.

"Paprika" is wonderfully done and makes you question what is real and what is just a dream. A beautiful soundtrack, flawless animation, and recognizable voice actors like Megumi Hayashibara makes "Paprika" in a league of her own. I'd recommend watching it at least twice...there's no way one can fully appeciate the artistry with one sitting.


Death Note

I finally sat down to watch "Death Note" Live Action DVD. For those who have read the manga or at least seen the anime, the live action may not live up to your expectations. The movie is well done as far as actors, graphics, and length goes. But the overall flow of the movie felt choppy as each scene from the manga is pushed in. I have to admit that it is difficult to incorporate important events from the manga and transcribe them on to the big screen, especially with a story like "Death Note."

The movie is still worth picking up and the ending leaves you wanting more. I would urge you to pick up the manga before you watch the live action. I think past readers will more fully appreciate the movie. Jumping into the movie may dissuade some potential readers out of an awesome manga.


Extreme Jubiliation

In the midst of all the commotion in Paris, I decided to check my email half way through my trip. As if my trip wasn't going great already, more awesome news were on its way. Two of my colleagues wrote that we got christmas bonuses and the amount wasn't too bad. It was, in actuality, quite perfect. As a couple of minutes passed, I opened an email from ebgames.com saying that my PS3 had been shipped. Evening out never sounded better as my bonus just about covered my PS3 expenses. I was in extreme jubilation when I heard that my PS freaking 3 was sitting in my room waiting for me.

I got pretty sick on the way back home from Paris so I was unable to delve into my PS3. I finally hooked everything up yesterday, and I must say, it is one beautiful piece of technology. All that's left now is to wait for Tekken 6, Metal Gear, FF XIII, and Silent Hill 5 (hopefully???).

The PS3 definitely does not compromise. It no doubt delivers and lives up to all expectations. To those of you who have a PS3 already, have fun. And to those who are still fighting for one, keep going, the wait and all your effort is SO worth it!!



My birthday has come and gone again this past Friday, December 8th. And with that, I finally have my hands on the PS2 game, "Yakuza." This game has been out for quite some time and have heard nothing but great things about it. This is by far one of the coolest games I have ever played. This is definitely a game worth playing on the PS3 (which I have unfortunately yet to attain - boo...).

We start off in Tokyo, year 1995, as a young and rising Yakuza star. Some altercations occur and a murder coverup lands us in jail. Now after 10 years, we return to find that the Yakuza world has drastically changed.

Gameplay screams ease and fluidity in all aspects. Its movements allow free manuverability and realistic interactions as you make your way through the back streets of Tokyo. You'd be crazy not to pick this up, that is, if you haven't already.


PS3 Launches

Ahhh...the PS3 launch day has come and gone. I am sad to say that I am not a proud owner of this wonderful piece of the ultimate gaming machine...yet. Friday, November 17th was definitely at day full of diminishing hopes and filled with breath-taking, heart-stopping, light-headed moments. I am sure that most everyone has great stories to tell of their victories and/or defeats.

Here's my abridged story:

After getting a notice the day before from costco.com, my hopes of gaining a PS3 was rising. My hopes had been staggering as launch day was steadily approaching. 11:00 am was the magic time when a limited quantity of PS3 would be available online (PS3s will not arrive at their warehouses until later this year). I had 3 laptops and 2 desktop computers going...I logged in at 8:30 am to make sure my membership info. was up-to-date and all systems were go. 30 minutes before that "magic" time, the beautiful PS3 was displayed on their homepage -- that is, if you were lucky enough to even see it, despite errors and server overloading. I was able to add it to my cart. My heart was racing as I clicked on "Check Out." Time literally stood still as the page slowly loaded, and I mean slowly. After a good 20 minutes passed by, I was greeted by a miserable message -- OUT OF STOCK. I won't go into the details...I'm sure you can fill in the blanks.

With numerous obstacles, such as limited quantities of materials, the number of PS3s shipped on launch day was extremely way below the projected numbers. Even those who luckily pre-ordered their PS3 were still not guaranteed a PS3 on the spot. What's really annoying is the amount of PS3s up for auction on eBay. They make up a whopping 10% of all available units nationwide. With the extremely limited number of consoles available, it would be nice if those who were able to purchase one were true gamers and have the sincere desire and passion to have a PS3. So it pisses me off that many of us won't get one because people who have no intention of owning one but are only looking to make a profit are able to purchase a unit. I have to admit that I know quite a few people who bought their PS3 for the sole purposes of making a hefty profit. A radio station pissed me off even more when they were looking for ideas of how to destroy their PS3s. Now, I'm all for jokes and stunts, but this really bothered me. They made it clear that they weren't giving them away, but were taking calls on methods of destroying the console.

On a happier note, more PS3 are being shipped to the U.S. on a daily basis. We still have a tough road ahead of us, but you can bet that this girl will not stop until the hollow spot under my T.V. is filled.


Ban Rule of Rose?

The mayor of Rome wants to ban Playstation 2's horror/action video game "Rule of Rose" for its depictions of violence. In all actuality though, there are not many violent scenes in the game. What makes "Rule of Rose" a horror game is the suggestive and disturbing actions and scenes that is portrayed. The eerie mood of the game and what makes this game unique is that it portrays a child's view of the world given certain circumstances. Sure, the game depicts more disturbing scenes rather than violent ones, I don't know if there's any merits to ban the game.


Dir en Grey U.S. Tour

Dir en Grey continues their Inward Scream Tour in the U.S. and Canada this coming February in 2007. Pre-sale has ended for most locations, but you can buy your tickets on Thursday, November 16, 2006 at 5pm from Ticket Master (www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1013924). Check out their tour dates below:

For more information, visit the Dir en Grey Fan Community website at http://direngrey.tickets.musictoday.com/DirEnGrey/calendar.aspx


Pinky:st Preview

New Pinky:cos figures have been slated to arrive January 31, 2007. This duo is a must-have for all collectors -- it is based on the Playstation 2 game, Wild ARMS: The Vth Vanguard.


Pinky:st Release Delayed

We've seen it happen many times...Pinky:st delays come to no surprise to avid collectors. Luckily, we don't need to wait that much longer for their actual release. While the delay of the new Pinky:st yukata style was not unexpected, I was disappointed to here about yet another delay on the RM series. That's right...the 3 Range Murata pinky:st have been delayed yet again, this time it carries at November 30, 2006 release date. I can't remember how long it has been since I pre-ordered these beauties. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the first release date for these figures must be close to one year ago. One wonders if these figures will ever be released.


Goodbye Lik-Sang...

Lik-sang.com is going out of business after several lawsuits by Sony. Lik-sang is one of the, if not the only, best resource for import games. Their products are reasonable priced considering how much it costs for us to get import games and consoles. The closing of Lik-sang not only hurts the huge number of customers it had, but will also cut down sales for merchants.

There are countless numbers of pages voicing the utter disappointment of many lik-sang customers -- many of them express no interest in purchasing the upcoming Playstation 3 because of this. One should note that Lik-sang.com is, as far as I know, the only place took online pre-order for the Playstation 3 open for months on end. The one question that sure to be on many minds is, "Where will I get my imports now?" Lik-sang was the number one resource for those outside of Japan to be able to play original Japanese games.


PS3 Blues

Ever since word of the next generation console, the Sony Playstation 3, was in the works, I have been fanatic. I just have to have this beautiful piece of 60GB technology in my room. I didn't have much worries in getting my hands on one of those babies, but with only 18 more days till its tentative release, I still do not have a solid guarantee that I'll have the PS3.

I'm starting to get really worried. I tried the in-store presale, but with only about 6 reservations available per store in the U.S., I had no such luck. Those suckers went quickly. My only hope is to preorder online, but circumstances have not made that luxury available just yet. I am eyeing a bunch of stores and my itchy finger is ready to click "buy" (or "preorder" if you're a stickler for details). If it comes to having to stand in line before the sun shows up, I'm afraid I won't be holding that PS3 in my hands.

Am I willing to spend $1000 to make sure I get my PS3? I think $599 is a perfect price for the 60GB PS3, but if it comes down to spending more than that, without including games, can I afford to do so at the expense of other things the money should be going to? Only time will till, I guess. Patience is a virtue I have yet to attain. Ah....the PS3 blues are really bogging me down.


Speed Grapher Vol. 3

This steamy volume continues the high adrenaline of "Speed Grapher." Filled with lies and deception, everyone seems to be caught in some scheme and at the end of the volume, we find out who truly has the upper hand. With its twists and turns, Saiga finally confronts Suitengu, and the truth is ultimately revealed...a blood fight ensues and for the first time, we get a glimpse of Suitengu's powers. Kagura and Saiga have been separated and are being held captive, and another euphorian is on the attack. This volume leaves you wanting more...but we'll have to wait till Volume 4 comes out (set to be released on November 18, 2006).


Advent Children: Complete

A re-release of Advent Children, hereby known as "Advent Children: Complete" is due to hit stores in DVD and Blue-ray formats. Apparently, part of the new trailer shows new or changed scenes. More details to come...


"Training Wheels"

I have already discussed my views on the infamous "sub vs. dub" controversy. I came across an Animenation's "Ask John" entry that supplements my stance (see my June 6, 2006 blog entry).

Here's John's answer:

The debate over dubbing anime is the oldest and most intensely argued topic in American fandom. Every anime fan has an opinion on the subject, and most anime fans, including myself, have voiced their opinion at least once. But there are new fans entering the anime community all the time, so there are always new fans who haven't been exposed to the traditional "sub versus dub" debate. I'll do my best to provide an objective, concise explanation.

There are two primary reasons why some anime fans dislike dubbing. Dubbing is considered a compromise of the original art. And many fans don't like the sound of dubbed anime. Many hardcore anime fans prefer to watch anime the way its creators made it. Dubbing involves removing the original dialogue track and replacing it with one created by people who had no involvement with the original production of the anime. Instead of watching and hearing the anime the way its creators produced it to be seen and heard, viewers watching a dub experience an altered version that does not have the same audible nuances that the original version had. Furthermore, dubbed dialogue is forced to condense or alter the original dialogue, sometimes diverging from the original Japanese script in order to match the character's lip movements. In practical terms, a dub will never be as faithful to the original script as a good subtitle translation.
viewers used to Japanese language anime may find that dubbed anime sounds stilted, unnatural, or unbelievable. An anime character's voice should sound like an integral, natural part of the character, not like an actor performing a role. Many viewers simply find that original Japanese voices fit the characters on screen more believably than English voices.

Viewers who enjoy or prefer dubs often enjoy the convenience of not having to navigate a foreign language and subtitles, and also argue that dialogue in the viewer's native language makes the viewing experience more immersive. Proponents of dubbing also argue that spoken dialogue in the viewer's native language creates the comfortable viewing experience that original creators desire for their audiences.

Presuming that the original purpose of dubbing is to make foreign film more accessible and marketable to a mainstream audience, proponents of original language claim that dubbing is a form of "training wheels," that should serve to gradually transition viewers into watching unaltered, authentic foreign film. Staunch defenders of dubbing accuse proponents of original language of being imperial and elitist. The invention of DVD technology that allows a single video to have selectable dialogue tracks hasn't mellowed the argument because the debate is rooted in principle. Fans of dubbing prefer the convenience of native language dialogue, and enjoy the accessibility of dubbed anime. The improving skill of dub voice actors may enable a dubbed work to have the same impact as the original while being more convenient to watch. Countless subtitle fans argue that dubbing is an unnecessary corruption of the artistic integrity of foreign film; an alteration imposed upon an artwork for the sake of making the art more profitable internationally. For the hardcore proponent of artistic integrity, the quality of a dub is irrelevant because the fundmental principle of dubbing is a corruption of the original artwork.

To view this entry, check out: http://animenation.net/news/askjohn.php?id=1403. I still stand firmly against dubs, but sadly have little hope that things will change drastically, especially with the growing number of American viewers.


Death by Ink

The ratings are going through the roof for PS2's "Okami." The graphics are awesome and unique in that it mimics traditional japanese scrollwork. The setup of the game, including the movie sequences, makes you feel as though you actually are reading the story from a scroll. You also get to try your hand on some brush work...you get to draw bridges, constellations, and the Sun, among other things. Brush strokes even put the finishing blow to your enemies.

You play the reincarnated wolf now named Amaterasu. If you know a little bit of japanese folklore, then this name should be quite familar to you. An evil monster the wolf vanquished a 100 years ago has been brought back to life and is reaking havoc. It's up to Amaterasu and his annoying buddy, a bug, to revive the world and bring peace once more.

If you like mythology, heroes, gods, and legends, then this is the game for you. The only way to truly capture the essence of the game is to experience it, so pick up "Okami" immediately.


Let's Cook!

A fun and cute, interactive game for the Nintendo DS, "Cooking Mama" takes real recipes and puts your cooking skills to the test. As you continue to play, you unlock more recipes. You are scored on how well you prepare the food. This is quite entertaining, but you may eventually get tired of playing it after trying each recipe a couple of times. This game is appropriately priced and worth every penny.


Rule of Rose

Released recently for the PS2, "Rule of Rose" is not your typical horror game. I've read several reviews that suggest that it'll surpass the caliber of the "Resident Evil" and "Silent Hill" series, but in different ways. The game takes advantage of PS2's capabilities with crisp graphics and sound quality. Unlike "Resident Evil," "Silent Hill," and other horror games, the soundtrack is less grungy and metallic. It focuses on the sounds of violins producing an eerie atmosphere reflecting the disturbing and dark behavior of these children.

The game starts as Jennifer, a young child, is dropped of at an orphange, following the death of her parents. She witnesses strange and distrubing behavior reiterating the fact we are dealing with children and a child's perspective. After exploring the orphanage, we awake in an airship and gradually learn of the aristocrat club and of our past. Joining up with a dog she rescues early in the game, they search for an escape while maintaining the rules of the club.

The storyline of "Rule of Rose" is exceptional, while the gameplay may be questionable. While the soundtrack has great tracks individually, it borders on annoying as one track is set on repeat throughout the game. Storage bins are scattered throughout the airship and because Jennifer can only hold so much, it's important to remember to empty your inventory frequently. Rated M, "Rule of Rose" is probaby not for everyone. Personally speaking, "Silent Hill" and "Resident Evil" are still the beasts of horror games and are in a league of their own, and "Rule of Rose" can't touch them. Instead, I think "Rule of Rose" is its own kind of game that may cater only to select gamers. Depending on your preferences, this game may or may not be for you, though I recommend playing the game for at least 5 or 6 hours before making your decision.


Rebuild of Evangelion

News of a new Evangelion movie has been confirmed. You might assume that I would be jumping up and down, but this girl is a bit uneasy. Let me explain.

Gainax is set to produce a series of FOUR new EVA motion pictures. These movies will be an alternate re-telling of the television series. In summation, they seek to dumb down the series to be more accessible and comprehensible to average viewers and those not familiar with the original series. I love Evangelion and would not change one single frame. The story and characters are compelling and the thought that the story will actually change bothers me. I would love it if it were something new, rather than a revision. I could simply not watch these new movies, but their mere existence ensures that I will be watching it.

They say, "More comprehensible...to average viewers...and those who aren't familiar." I say, this series is deep and is not meant for the "average" viewer. I don't mean to seclude others from watching this masterpiece, but some things are meant to be the way they were originally.

I won't say anything further until I've actually seen them. I wish I could say that if it's more Evangelion, bring it on. I don't want the essence of EVA to be jeopardized. Evangelion, to me, represents the culmination of anime and I pray that it won't crumble.

The first movie is set to be released next summer in Japan. Full details will be available in the upcoming October 2006 issue of Newtype Japan.



The newest pinky:st line-up feature two festival-yukata-themed figures. These will be available in a standing and sitting pose, and is set to be released October 30, 2006. You may remember that there was a garage kit of a yukata pinky:st, but it is extremely rare to find.


Dirge of Cerberus

Continuing Project "Catch-up," I finally sat down this past weekend and popped in "Dirge of Cerberus" on PS2. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! Another chapter from the most popular FF series, Final Fantasy 7, this game centers not on Cloud, but on Vincent Valentine. Straying away from its predecessors, Dirge is the first FF game that is not an RPG, but rather an adventure game much like "Tomb Raider" and "Devil May Cry." True to its essence, Square Enix continues to provide excellent quality graphics and the character design is, unsurprisingly, stunning. Some of our favorite characters join up again giving the same feeling of nostalgia and excitement I felt the first time I watched "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children."

The movement between scenes and the actual character movement is very smooth. Aiming your gun in time takes some getting used to, but you quickly learn how to maneuver. "Dirge of Cerberus" is an excellent FF7 sequel and doesn't dissappoint.


Speed Grapher Vol. 2

Volume 2 of Speed Grapher keeps the momentum going as Saiga and Kagura continue their attempt to elude Suitengu-sama and his club. Both are bombarded with even more euphorians and Saiga's euphorian skills continue to develop...bigger focus lens and focal distance equals a bigger explosion. The mystery behind Kagura is also beginning to unravel as we learn more about the inner workings of the secret club. Just a friendly warning -- I wouldn't recommend watching this volume if you've got to visit the dentist in the near future.

Volume 3 is set to be released October 10, 2006.


Going back to my August 24th entry, I'm surprised to announce that Daishi's costume has been sold with a whopping 1 bid. It didn't look too good for the past couple of days, so I was pretty sure the thing wouldn't sell. So congratulations to the winner, you may have lost 500 bucks but at least you'll be the talk of the j-rock community rocking with your Daishi custom-made costume.


And then there were 8...

The outcast planet has been pushed out of the scene completely. Leading astronomers have defined what it means to be a planet and it wasn't good news for Pluto. Now deemed as a dwarf planet, Pluto is not longer part of our Solar System. It's official, go through all your old textbooks and make the update -- there are 8 planets in our Solar System. Pluto, by far, still rocks in my book. Totally different and unique and never follows the norm, Pluto definitely has character.


PLC Auction Insanity

This just in...from the #1 resource of j-pop and j-rock merchandise and memorabilia comes a Psycho le Cemu auction that's out of this world.

House of Anime (jpophouse.com) has announced that a series of Psycho le Cemu's actual costumes (custom made by Cospa) will be sold through eBay. The first costume belongs to Daishi and was worn in 2004. The minimum bid for his chinese-inspired outfit is a whopping $499.99!!! I guess if you can get a group of fans together to purchase it together, it could sell extremely well. I'd be surprised if an individual could go at it alone. But you never know, given my passion for everything Japanese, I also wouldn't be surprised if the bids come pouring in. It'll be interesting to see just how high the price will get by the end of the auction. To check out the details or to bid yourself, click here. Ganbatte and may the highest bidder win (^_^)


Pinky:st Kira Kira

The Pinky:st phenomenon continues to stretch to other realms showing that this craze is still burning. Pinky:st has hit the shelves with over 40 figures including limited edition and special edition figures and has recently taken over the small screen. Pinky:st is now hitting the Nintendo DS with "Pinky:st Kira Kira Music Hour" (or "Pinky:st Sparkling Music Hour"). It is a music-themed game with your favorite pinky models and is set to be released October 26, 2006. For those who grab the limited edition, a special pinky:st figure will be included. This is a definite plus for all pinky:st collectors.


Utopian Awakening

After the MCAT, I was able to fit in some anime, that is, until my body gave out from extreme exhaustion. Sitting on my shelf for the past few days still in its wrapping, it took a lot of will power to stop me from watching this anime. But I perservered and I'm glad I waited till after the test.

"Ergo Proxy" is a cool, dark anime with a tint of innovation and a unique plot. I already had high expectations ever since I heard that it was from the guys who brought us the awesome "Samurai Champloo." The art and design quality is absolutely flawless. It combines the high art quality of "Last Exile," the crisp and darkness of "Blood: The Last Vampire," and the fluidity of "Samurai Champloo." The story is captivating...humans and androids called autoreivs, live together in the last utopia, but a virus called the Cogito Virus is spreading among some androids infecting them with emotion. The main character is a female inspector from the Citizen Information Bureau along with her partner, an autoreiv named Iggy. The basic plot and first episode is nicely presented to depict a deep, multilayered story filled with twists and turns. The mood reminds me of "Speed Grapher" meets "Noir." Hopefully the episodes to follow will be as equally compelling as the first episode.


Sweet Liberation!

I finally took my MCAT this past Saturday. With it having gone and passed, it feels good to have that liberation. Or rather, I have gone from a liberation of MCAT madness to enter into another madness, a madness known as Admissions. It's a long and arduous process that is extremely costly. After studying for 8 straight months, I can finally have some free time. The craziness was nicely capped off with a Sunday lunch at Tara Thai. I hope that my score will reflect those gruling months of studying.


It's Baaack!

The "Play! A Video Game Symphony" tour continues in Virginia tomorrow night, August 4 at 8:30 p.m. I was surprised to see a piece on it on Washington Post's Express newspaper. I'm glad I made it to the Chicago premiere, as it seems no VIP meet and greets are happening in the subsequent concerts. Nevertheless, it should be a great concert. No word as to what special feature they'll do for this concert, Detroit's concert had Castlevania music. No special guests have been announced for this concert, but at least we have Arnie Roth. Virginia-goers won't get the same treats that Chicago attendants got, but it'll still be a concert that's out of this world.


Heat Wave

"It's the end of the world," someone said recently. With temperatures reaching 110 degrees with the heat index this week, you can bet that air conditioning is gonna be my friend. I should be used to this type of weather, but when we have tropical island weather in a mild temperate zone, it just doesn't feel right. I feel just like the Itoh sisters, Chika and Nobue, from Ichigo Mashimaro. No doubt I'm looking forward to fall and winter.

I'm going to NASA this afternoon for some presentations, so hopefully I won't be stuck in the heat.


35 hours in 3 days

I have worked approximately 35 hours in the past 3 days and am TOTALLY exhausted. Yet here I am trying to make it through the week. My colleague and I co-planned every aspect of a 3-day event we held for a bunch of our interns at NASA. At least our efforts weren't in vain. Everything turned out great and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. It was sad to say goodbye to the Langley Research interns. We had dinner on Monday, a full day on Tuesday, and breakfast on Wednesday. I feel like a zombie, but I can't let that get the best of me. A little over 3 more weeks until the MCATs, so there's no time for rest.



Thank you, Gonzo! If you're looking to get away from the mainstream anime out there just once, away from those romance, comedies, action, robot, and samurai-themed anime, then "Speed Grapher" is for you. For "Evangelion" fans, this is a must-see. "Speed Grapher" has it all -- great plot, great characters, great development, awesome music, and flawless graphics. If one word could sum up this great series, it would be "original." There is only one other anime I have ever deemed "original", that being, "Evangelion", of course. Having seen just the first volume, "Speed Grapher" has already made it to one of the top titles on my list.

Because of its originality, it's hard to describe or compare it to other anime titles. "Speed Grapher" is similar to "Evangelion" in that it deals with the philosophy of human mind and desire and is deeply enriched. I thought of "Elfen Lied" in some instances, but "Speed Grapher" is way beyond that league. It's similar to "Silent Hill" (the video game/movie) in the perfection of the background music. Its clean graphics are in the realm of "Last Exile's" awesome artist, Range Murata. In all, this title can stand on its own. "Speed Grapher" is rated TV-MA (mature). This is definitely not for kids or the light-hearted or the occasional anime fan. This is definitely for you hard-core anime fans. I tried to get the import version, but was unsuccessful, so I'm anxiously awaiting for Volume 2.


Keeping Up That Spirit of Determination

The weekend is over once again and that means that there is less than 6 more weeks till the MCAT. I am happy to say that I have kept my goal of finishing the Biology Section, well, for the most part. I just need to get through Genetics and Evolution (which shouldn't be too much of a hassle). Next weekend, it's on to Organic Chemistry.

I'm trying to figure out ways to keep my spirit of determination up, get my hypothalamus to work in my favor. Release those hormones and give me that good, happy feeling. Maybe little rewards might work. But with me giving the rewards, it's probably unlikely that they'll suffice. What's going to stop me from getting it (other than okane), if I really want it? I guess, in truth, the joy of going to Med School and becoming a doctor to help others is reason enough to strive.

Onegai tasukete kami-sama! Ganbatte!


The Security Blanket Called Ignorance

Sure, a little bit of ignorance never hurt anyone. Those who avoid ignorance completely are ironically doomed to fail in life. We have shaped life to what it is today - a place where only the ignorant succeed. And the main reason for this is the false sense of motivation that always accompanies hope and ignorance.

Believing in something gives humans the drive to improve themselves, to provide the stamina needed to continue the race. In this case, it seems to be better to be a hypocrite. So long as you continue to push and "succeed" in life, while at the same time, remembering the truth. And for those that are completely ignorant and are devoid of the truth, may you be showered with pseudo-bliss-full days.

The End of Longest Shortest Week

It's Friday, Yay! I still can't believe this was a 3-day work week. It felt like it went forever. I don't have any big plans this weekend, but I hope to get some anime in there somehow. I've set a big goal for myself this weekend -- to finish studying the Biology section of the MCAT. I think it can be done...if not the entire section, then at least 75% of it.

I'm watching "School Rumble" right now. Usually not my type of anime, but it's really starting to get a hold on me. I don't think it'll end the way I want it to, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Alright! That's enough of a break. Gotta get back to work...apparently for me, Friday is always my busiest day.



A disorder resulting from a failure to behave preditably; a mental state characterized by a lack of clear or orderly thought and behavior; a mistake that results from taking one thing for another; causes disorderly combination of elements with identities lost and distinctions blended. Confusion, it seems, is the way of life. Though some may believe that they aren't confused most of the time, I think there isn't a time when one person at one given point in time is not confused. Think about it, can you pinpoint one instance when you saw things "clearly," with absolutely no doubt, or not a shred of chance where you may be wrong? I wouldn't say that confusion is a trait that is human-specific, but it can be said that we, alone, hide from the simple fact that we know nothing.

But how can all of us be wrong? Doesn't majority always represent the truth? Majority, in truth (chuckles in irony), is not a representation of the truth. Instead, it is a representation of what most have agreed to agree on. If you disagree, then you'd agree that if 90% of the world said that the word "truth" contains six letters, then it must be true. Right?

Confusion -- A state in that which is not normal. Confusion is the state of life. Laugh at those who believe they are normal, or who snicker at those who they see aren't normal. We're all abnormal, weird, if you will, and those who refuse it will remain lost or can dwell in their sea of false happiness or content.


MCAT Madness

Less than 7 more weeks till the MCAT. I'm starting to get really nervous. At times I feel so prepared, that I've done all I can do. Other times I feel so lost and start to lose all hope. What if I blank out? Could I have done more? What will happen if I don't make it? These questions really bog me down and whatever motivation or stamina I get is very short-lived. I know I have it in me, but will my will be strong enough to persevere? One thing's for sure, I absolutely cannot let my nerves get the best of me. As my sister always says, "You can do it!"

Two nights ago, I suddenly woke up around 4:30 a.m. with some ideas for my Medical School Essay. For fear that I'd forget it when I wake again, I crawled out of bed and looked for some paper and a pen or pencil. I ended up writing incomplete sentences and some notes for a good 20 minutes. It seems good, I just hope it'll be enough to push my application to the top of the pile. Ganbatte-nee Rei-chan!


Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, Happy Fourth of July!!! Except not really, it was 2 days ago, but we'll ignore that little tid bit. Coco is going crazy with all the fireworks. People have got fireworks all around our house. The "regular" fireworks neighbors always seem to have fireworks, we hear it at least 3 times a week, but they're really going at it this year. It sounds like there's a party going on the other side of our house. An on another angle is the usual fireworks event at the park nearby. There's really no point turning on the TV to see the Macy's 4th of July parade. Anyways, Go America! What a perfect way to end our Philly trip.


Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu!

Happy Birthday Reza (aka Gendo)!!! Otanjou-bi Omedetou! Hope you have a blast. Hope you can just sit around, go back to your roots, and watch some good ol' Evangelion. Have a great and relaxing day...you truly deserve it, so go ahead and live it up! Luv, Rei (^_^)


Back to Reality

Yes, I know you saw it coming, but I have to say it -- it sucks to be back...again. We got back from a great time at Philly yesterday evening and boy are we pooped out. We did and saw so much that even my camera gave out twice. I had to go buy batteries and those died on me too.

It seems that with everything that's been going on this morning, someone's telling everyone to stay home. With massive flooding and mudslides, the metro is a mess and the roads are massively clogged. My legs are giving out and I can't keep my eyes open. At least my sister took the hint and stayed home today, but here I am in the office.

I wanna go back to Philly, to my beautiful hotel with the beautiful surroundings. Sigh, it sucks to be back...again.


From Chi-town to Philly

Surprise! I just dropped my big surprise to my sister today. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to surprise her with a trip to Philly. I had to keep this on the hush-hush. She needed to take off that Friday, so I told her I'd be taking her to Six Flags!! Up until tonight, she was all set to go to Six Flags. I couldn't keep this to myself, so I told everybody else about it, except her.

She had called me up early this week and asked for a shopping spree as her birthday present. I couldn't get out of it and of course, she had absolutely no idea how much I had already spent for her birthday present. She was thinking, all she did was get two tickets to Six Flags. It was either tell her the truth or add this shopping spree to her birthday bill. Luckily she couldn't find much and I was only left with a small bill - 2 pairs of shoes.

We leave tomorrow morning. All that's left is some major last minute packing. Happy Birthday, Medina!!! Aren't I a wonderful sister? Philly, here we come!!!


Anime 101

The University of California's Irvine Extension will offer a course entitled, "Manga & Anime Explosion: What, Why, How & Wow!" The course will examine the historical and cultural significance of anime and manga and how they have shaped the look and feel of many of today's Hollywood productions. In addition, students will apply methods of story and character development found in manga to screenwriting, advertising, information publishing and other creative endeavors. The course is aimed at both screenwriters seeking to expand their writing skills and add a new technique to their existing portfolio, and the growing number of passionate fans who seek greater knowledge of these art forms and how they've grown to become a phenomenon. Professional screenwriter, commercial director, and manga expert Northrop Davis will teach the course.The five-week UC Irvine Extension course is open to the public and begins September 26 on the UC Irvine campus. For more information, visit www.unex.uci.edu. [Source: AnimeNation]

Summer begins...

Ugh, it's the first day of summer. Though it feels like it's been summer for quite some time now. Oh where, oh where is winter? Tell me one thing that's so great about the summer. It's hot and it's humid. It's probably still hot even if your naked...I mean at least when it's cold, you can wear layers. When it's hot, what else can you take off, your skin? I get cranky and people start stanking up the room. I see stuff hanging out of people's clothes...it's like looking at the sun (must look away). Annoying kids hit the street and make too much noise. My hair doesn't cooperate. The lawn keeps growing right after you mow it. And stupid tourists clog the metro. I have to witness awful tanning attempts and I can't wear my favorite clothes. There's no summer vacation to look forward to and no other holidays coming up, except for the 4th of July...woo hoo, one day off (I'm being sarcastic if you didn't notice). I love the rain, don't get me wrong, but rain in the summers really suck. It gets all muggy and humid. So I ask this again, what's so great about summer?


Who am I? Who are you?

"Mountains. Heavy are the mountains. But that changes with the passage of time.
Sky, blue sky. What your eyes can't see. What your eyes can see.
The sun. One, only one.
Water. It is a grey pool.
Commander Ikari.
Flowers. So many the same, so many without purpose.
Sky. Sky of red. Red the colour, the colour I hate.
The liquid flows. It drips, ripples, and pours.
Blood. Scent of blood, woman who does not bleed.
On the red soil the humans come. Humans made by man and woman.
City. A human creation.
EVA. A human creation as well.
What are humans? Are they creations of God? Humans, and that which is created by humans.
This is that which is mine. My life; my heart. I am a vessel for my thoughts.
The entry plug; the throne of the soul.
Who is this? This is me.Who am I? What am I? What am I? What am I? What am I...I am I.
This object that is myself, that which forms what is me. This is the self that can be seen and yet it is not like that which is myself.
A strange feeling. My body feels as if it is melting. I can no longer see myself, my form, my shape...It fades from view.
Awareness dawns of someone who is not me; who was here, there, beyond me here.
Shinji? This person I know, Major Katsuragi. Doctor Akagi. People. My classmates. The pilot of Unit 02.
Commander Ikari?
Who are you? Who are you? Who are you..."

~Rei Ayanami


おかえりなさい, Welcome Home!

Welcome home, pinky:st! My three latest pinky street figures finally made it home to my door step. Aren't they cute!?! The figures on the far ends are the new Pinky 013 and 014 (I think 015 will be an accessories package, but no word on the release date yet) and the middle one is the long awaited Rabbit Scooter figure. I finally have a sitting pose which I would have had if I could just find my Yukata pinky...oh well.

On another note, it's Friday. But I have no doubt that the weekend will just pass me by in the blink of an eye...

Oh, and one more thing, if you can't read the subject of this entry (i.e. it's in weird symbols), then you suck...go get Japanese language capability.