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.



I've been juggling a bunch of things at once and no matter how much rest I get, it never seems to be enough. I'm looking forward to the weekend, though. Hopefully there's nothing but rest and relaxation on the way. Some Tara Thai, Anime, and video games ought to perk me right up. Only about 5.5 hours left of work, then commute (another hour), eat, play with Coco, finish up the summary for Dad, get in some MCAT study time in there, read the last chapter of Vampire Hunter D Vol. 4, get a little bit of Pu-Pu-Pu again (starring Go Morita, Ken Miyake, and Okada Junichi), in me and it's off to bed.



We've all heard the motto, "Life is full of surprises." At times, I do believe that, but when it comes down to it and after some analysis, I think all these "surprises" are just inevitable. We are just taken aback by unexpected events simply because we are human. We try to be rational, but at times we are blinded, especially if it concerns ourselves. After all, though life may have its randomness, it is what we make of it that determines how we feel and what we do and what happens.

When things occur, whatever they may be, we, or at least I, want to believe that I'll know what to do when the time comes. That I'll seize the opportunity once it arises, that I'll grab it before it is lost forever. Within all this, in itself lies Destiny. It's liberating to believe in Destiny -- that there is a set path for everyone. But truth be told, if we don't act, what we finally realize we want, will be far beyond reach. Only those who have the courage to act, can be happy and those who don't, continue to dwell on the past and wonder what could have been.



Sometimes dark, gloomy days (like today) hide sweet surprises. I came across this browsing through AnimeNation and this is awesome. The Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, 'Reunion Files' boasts a stunning 144- page guide to the movie. It "archives two years worth of articles about the film from Japan's Dorimaga video game magazine, along with hundreds of glossy screenshots, story guide, "making of," rare production design sketches, staff and cast interviews, and much more." [Source: AnimeNation]. The release date has not been announced yet, but you can bet that this is definitely going to be on my shelf. Can't wait!!

The front cover is absolutely beautiful...love the wings. That's Sephiroth for you (*starts singing One Winged Angel*). Just imagining what the inside is gonna look like gives me chills.


Where did all the Anime go?

What is going on? From the very beginning, there has been an enormous amount of anime titles out there, almost all of them are of the best quality (great plot, great character development, great animation -- they deliver nothing but the best. I made a decree to myself more than a decade ago that I would never be able to watch all these series and that I'm bound to miss some of the most influential and spectacular titles. Never, since my anime lifetime, has there been an instance where I'm not in the middle of an anime series. There is just a huge plethora of titles that continue to be developed and released, and that's not even including the titles of the past. There were times when I was watching over 5 series at the same period. It's impossible to keep up, I just do the best I can to fulfill my passion with the resources at hand.

But lately, I have been blank. This is such a strange feeling. I can't find any good anime to get into and this is definitely a first. The questions I'm used to asking is, "Which one?" This lack of choices is extremely disturbing. It's not that there's a shortage of titles out there, in fact, I believe there's an increase. And yet, I can't find one. It's really hard to believe that my last series were "Full Metal Alchemist," "Bleach," and "Samurai Champloo." Those were ages ago. I'm afraid at the thought that quantity is overarching quality...the plot, the characters, even the animation are being compromised.


Miyazaki strikes again

...Goro Miyazaki, that is. The newest Ghibli project, Tales from Earth Sea, will be released in Japan on July 29th. I wonder how long it will be till I'll be able to see it. I believe Hayao Miyazaki is doing the concept art. Not only that, Okada (see pic, kawaii nee??), that's right Junichi Okada from the one and only V6, will be the voice actor for Prince Arren. There isn't much else I know about it, but with a stamp of Ghibli Productions, there's no doubt that it'll prove to be great.



Ever get the feeling like you've been stuck in a certain state for a while? It feels like forever since you've last felt otherwise. As if you're stuck in some alternate universe and aren't aware of it. For some time now, I feel exhausted by mid-day and am always anticipating the moment I can jump under my covers and just lay there. It's probably fatigue from so much that's been going on, but I've always had a lot on my plate...so what's different now? Sure, I'm constantly being dealt a wide array of crap to do, but it's not like I'm the only one. We are taking on more, as a society, than we have in the past. And when we finally get that golden opportunity to take a vacation, it never seems to last too long.

Is mankind on a brink of overload or am I simply just delusional?

Subs or Dubs?

The controversy between subtitles or dubbed anime has been around for a long time. With all the arguments out there, there is little hope that a universal agreement can be acheived. I believe that subtitles or dubbed language track is a preference, an aesthetic of each individual. Whether one prefers subtitled over dubbed, or vice-versa, is really a matter of principle. Remember that subtitling does not remove anything from the original work. However, dubbing does. But in retrospect, both are neither perfect. Subtitles are the closest alternative to perfect; it is the closest that a non-Japanese native can get to the original, hence without any subtitles or dubbing involved.

Personally, I prefer subtitled versions as opposed to dubbed for many reasons. Let me explain. It's really not a matter of watching a good dubbed movie or a bad one, it just ruins the feel of the original movie. I think that fans who argue that they have difficulties watching subtitled anime are just ridiculous. Sure it may be hard at first for some, but you learn to adjust. As for me, I barely notice myself reading the subtitles and I find that my Japanese has steadily gotten better, to the point that I don't need to look down when it comes to basic sentences. I have made my share of attempts at watching dubbed anime, even the ones whom people say is really good dubbing, but truth be told, I couldn't get through even one episode. It just made me cringe. Even the best dub takes away from the original piece -- it is simply unnecessary.

Opinions also sway from Japanese industry, representing both sides of the argument. Some are okay with the concept of dubbing, while others totally reject them. Dubbing also produces other consequences. For one, it is expensive to dub anime. From hiring voice actors to animators that alter the work accordingly, a lot of money has to go in that process. In addition, fans overseas (outside Japan) have to wait until each episode is completed before the DVDs go on sale. And since it's almost impossible to complete the dubbing process of 26 episodes in a short amount of time and a secure bank account, the time between the original release of the work to the time the DVDs reach American shelves is extremely long. Instead, we get stuck with the release of separate volumes every 1 or 2 months, anxiously waiting for the next installment.

So my question is, wouldn't it be great if the time between the original release and the American release were as short possible? And wouldn't it be great if you could get the whole series in one fell swoop? If you answered no, well then I guess you should stick to your dubbing version. But if you're like me, you wouldn't want any unnecessary delays or alterations.

Some may argue that fans of subtitles shouldn't complain because most DVDs today come with bilingual features - a japanese language track with the option of english subtitles and an English dubbed version. I would agree that this is the best we can do to compromise, however, the fact that dubbing still exists, does not deter the problem of the long wait of DVD releases and the sectioning of episodes. It would be a good move, financially, to get rid of dubbing - the voice actors, re-animators, etc., to both industries and the consumer. For the consumer, this may result in cheaper costs for your anime.

I remember back in the day when Anime fans were scarce, maybe almost 10 years ago, back when VHS' were your source of anime. There would always be a version of English Dubbed and Original Japanese Track w/ subtitles. What's more, it really pissed me off when the original would cost a little more than the English version. Mind you, that didn't stop me from getting my hands on the subtitled version. I imagine that the price difference was mainly based on the thought that there would be a higher market for the dubbed version as opposed to the subtitled version.

But anyways, my argument on dubbing and its effect on delaying release and partitioning volumes is not entirely because I may be impatient. I just think that any waiting should be due to good reasons, not reasons of money, etc. due to the dubbing process. Despite the higher cost, I'd much rather buy the import versions to get away from all that.


666 = $$$

The day started out like every other day -- quite busy with no time to breathe and constantly complaining that I want to go home. Plus, my allergies were really bothering me, even more so than usual. D comes over to my office, like always, but this time, he hands me an envelope with my name on it and a red stamp with "Administrative Personal: To be Opened by Adressee only." Without opening it yet, he says, "We really like the work you've been doing and we're happy to have you..." I can't keep a straight face *blushes* *smiles*, so he smiles (cute smile, by the way). I don't remember the exact words, but it doesn't matter...I GOT A RAISE!!! Mind you, it wasn't like a 5 or 10 thousand dollar raise...but at least it's more moolah. YAY ME!!!



OMG!!! I'm going out of my mind. Too many things going on, I'm super lazy, and I wanna go back to bed. I seriously feel that I'm getting jipped out of my weekend. It CANNOT seriously be Monday already. This is not the type of boost I need when I've got the whole entire freaking day ahead of me...here's a thought, why don't I become a motivator. I'd be great at it, right? Now where's that SOBE energy drink?

Play! Press/Media Coverage

The Chicago concert, Play! A Video Game Symphony has been heralded as a success (www.play-symphony.com/news.php?full=35). This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with extra goodies. The music selection was awesome and it didn't hurt that almost all the composers of the pieces were there -- including some spectacular guest performances. It was absolutely great to be part of it and I wouldn't have changed a thing...well, maybe 4 things: 1) I wish they played FF7 Advent Children's Beyond the Wasteland -- every time I hear it, it gives me goosebumps (that and One-Winged Angel) and it would've been great to see it performed live. If it was about time constraints and I had get rid of one song, though tough to choose, I'd omit Chocobo Swing; 2) It would have been perfect if Angela Aki had sung her Japanese Version of Kiss Me Goodbye (nice rendition of Rikku's song, though); 3) I would have liked more songs to be played from Silent Hill, though his guitar solo was absolutely riveting; and 4) the program was cool but I guess I had really high expectations for it. I could talk on and on about the concert, but I'll stop (for now).

Check out the coverage so far, enjoy!

GTtv: www.gametrailers.com/gamepage.php?id=2796

GameSpot: www.gamespot.com/news/6151989.html
N-sider: www.n-sider.com/articleview.php?articleid=518
1up.com: http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cid=3151125


Manga = Japanese Comic

If you've ever had at least one conversation with me where my passion of anime and manga was brought up, then you know just how strongly I feel when concepts, words, etc. are taken out of its original context and its true meaning altered.
As the popularity of anime and manga has grown, I can't help but notice the increasing frequency of its misconceptions -- one of which lies with manga. It's very frustrating enough to see mangas mixed with other comics. Even worse, to the average consumer, these comics are seen or assumed to be manga. I see works that are called "mangas" written/drawn by English, German, and Korean artists. I've even seen comic strips that mimic the "manga" style in Cosmo Girl and actually call it "manga."

To set the record straight, mangas are comics written by Japanese artists, while other works can be called American comics, manga-inspired, or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy works such as "Megatokyo" and "Warcraft," but calling them "manga" is just plain wrong. Just as American cartoons are different from Japanese cartoons (aka "Anime"), American or German, or whatever comics or graphic novels are different from Japanese comics (aka "Manga").

I was happy to come across an article from "Japan Times." It's in English, so check it out here.


[dot dot dot]

I guess this isn't very suprising, but I just realized that I use [dot dot dot]s a lot when I type. Very interesting...except, not really.