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.