Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My thoughts on L.A. Noire

Just the logo lets you know this game is a wonderful homage to classic hard-boiled  films... and not much else.

As of this blog post I have yet to finish L.A. Noire and with the way I feel about the game and what I've heard about the ending I really don't see myself finishing it anytime soon.

L.A. Noire is boring. It's a game that is hardly a game. There is no challenge, there is no winning and there is no losing. The game will move on without you because your input and decisions as a player are not significant in the game's story. The game is not a total loss because, yes, the story is believable, the acting is magnificent for a video-game of any kind and the world always feels alive. The game is overflowing in personality and it's never boring to look at but this does not compensate the fact that all you ever do is look. You never really get the satisfaction that comes from making correct choices and forming your own path.

The game is comprised of inspecting crime scenes, from murder to drug abuse to arson, and then following up these investigations with interviews of various suspects and/or persons of interest. The games biggest flaws come through in these investigations. You ask a person a series of questions and based on the impressive facial behaviors of the character you are then made to determine whether they are lying, telling the truth or you can doubt them if it's somewhere in the middle. Not only does this process become incredibly robotic but after the first few cases you start to notice that everyones face seems to turn to the same default "they're looking away they must be hiding something" and "they are stone-faced as fuck they must be telling the truth". I understand you can only do so much with video game characters but the game doesn't even try to challenge you most of the time. I spent the majority of interviews mashing doubt. Actually having a contradicting piece of evidence to then point out a blatant lie is a rare occurrence. The type of careful observation gameplay that I love in games like Phoenix Wright would work amazingly in a game like L.A. Noire but every investigation is left in grey areas of missing gaps of clues.

In interactive mystery games like Phoenix Wright you are forced to locate all the clues and speak to all the right people before you can progress with the story. L.A. Noire lets you miss out on as many clues and conversations as you possibly can and will allow you to wrap up a case. It's a great idea from a developer and player standpoint that a player is allowed to decide when he is satisfied with what he has found but then the game will take that and fuck you over because it allowed you to not be prepared. Which brings up the point that it doesn't even matter if you're not prepared. You can walk into an interview and get every question wrong due to a lack of evidence or just out of poor judgment and walk out with maybe a slightly different conversation with the Chief. But does the game take a different path as a consequence of your poor detective work? Nope, the world just keeps on moving like if you're the greatest cop there ever was.

A colorful and believable cast of characters are one of the games winning features.
So if you can't form your own path and your actions don't matter then it starts to become difficult to see the dividing line between a game and a movie. When Heavy Rain was nearing it's release it was getting a lot of flak for the same reasons I am criticizing L.A. Noire for. Where's the player interaction? It's just an interactive movie. But there is a massive fundamental difference between the two games. Heavy Rain is comprised of a vast amount of altering routes that the story can branch off to based on your decisions. It actually is a fully interactive experience. Your choices matter and there are consequences or benefits from these decisions. That is an example of a great game with amazing atmosphere centered around the story, characters and the world that still manages to fit the player into the equation.

L.A. Noire also suffers from an incredible lack of challenge. Since there is no losing you often find yourself just pressing buttons until you find yourself driving from point A to point B or at a cutscene. Looking for clues takes no effort whatsoever and you have nothing to go on so you sort of just walk around pressing the action button over and over. (I feel like I must mention that I turned off the chimes that alerts you when a clue is nearby to make it somewhat harder for myself.) At no point do I ever feel successful about finding a clue because it's never based on skill but pure luck or the game will just throw it at you.

When I first started playing L.A. Noire I was very excited at what I was seeing. The characters seemed so real, the city was colorful and large in scope and had incredible detail and I felt that my decisions for the first few cases were actually based around the right or wrong decisions I had made. After a couple of cases, particularly when I made it into Homicide, I quickly began to realize the game was getting away from me. I was missing out on clues answering questions wrong and the game was knowingly forcing me to choose the wrong perpetrator. The fun of the game had gone.

Ultimately, I feel that L.A. Noire pulls in mechanics from several games and only some of them just barely work. If some aspects of exploring crime scenes had been fine-tuned and if investigations were more dependent on successfully analyzing clues and information this could have been a much better game. Something to take into consideration is that this is Team Bondi's first game. And for their first game this is quite an ambitious title but due to misleading marketing tactics people were expecting an open-world crime scene extravaganza on the level of Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto IV. Many would then come to feel duped by the time they realized this game bears almost no similarity to those titles, myself included. So perhaps now that Team Bondi has- I hope- listened to the reaction to their first game they will take criticism into account and L.A. Noire 2 may be the incredible game we were all expecting the first time around.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I love awesome trailers. Regardless of how great or how horrible the film ends up being, the awesome trailer will remain awesome.  Of course it's better when the movie is awesome too but unfortunately this isn't always the case. Awesome trailers leave with a sense of wanting and anticipation for what appears to be a great time and in the case of shitty films they leave us with a glimpse of what could have been and some hope that maybe some day some other film will live up to those expectations.

I say all of this because I just saw the trailer for David Fincher's adaptation of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Swedish film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The film which itself is an adaption of the Swedish novel of the same name. So what we're dealing with here is an adaptation of an adaptation. I don't mean to sound cynical as I'm usually opposed to any negative thinking but I've been sort of forced into holding back total excitement for the moment. The trailer is awesome but like I said an awesome trailer doesn't always mean awesome movie. David Fincher is not one to usually disappoint- he is one of my favorite directors and probably for many others as well- and again I'm not expecting the film to be bad I'm just trying to be more cautious with my self-hype. My point being that there is always room to fuck up. I have just recently been let down by a film whose trailers completely blew me away (damn you, Sucker Punch).

Just watch the trailer for yourself. It's awesome. The movie will probably be awesome and that is as excited as I will get for now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Le Music

Welp, school is just about over. 20 days now, I believe. The last month-and-a-half have really taken it out of me. Took some AP Exams, my SAT, a history final. But now it seems like my walk through the field of testing is over- aside from finals and 2 end of the year projects. It's actually never really over till that first day of summer. That first, beautiful, freeing day. The day when the sun is at its brightest, the fresh air seems fresher and the time on my hands seems limitless. I've only got a couple more of those to look forward to. Better savor 'em.

Which brings us to the matter of my lack of posts for a little more than a month. But I won't apologize and I won't say I'll change. Because I always seem to say so and just shit all over my promises. I think you've been through enough heartbreak already. Let's just hope for a better future for the both of us. You can always leave me. I'd understand.

So I've been meaning to churn this one out for a while just to get back into the groove and supply you with some cultural fun.

A while back my friend Kevin introduced me to a song. Kevin has this incredible knack for showing me things that he thinks I'll love. I always doubt his judgement but I have to give him credit where it's due. So he came to me ( or rather IM'ed me) with the undertaking of making me a worldlier person. Being as sceptic of his proposals as ever, I simply responded "k".

He then linked a video.

I was immediately in love with the song and and to an extent the adorable French blonde singing it. I have a powerful but subtle connection with the french language. I don't think many people knew that I had an affinity for French culture but this song had brought it out in me. I am now much more vocalized about my once quiet passion and hope to learn to speak French so that I may one day understand the beautiful words of the lovely France Gall. So I thanked Kevin on his successful endeavor and wished him a good night but he wasn't done yet.

It turns out the very song I just heard had been used in a commercial featuring Brad Pitt. I was even more pleased when I learned the commercial was crafted by one of my favorite film directors, Wes Anderson.

It's a pretty neat commercial. Beautiful music, beautiful setting, and amazing actor with a unique director to pull the strings. If only all commercials were this good. I gotta say, Kevin really hit out of the park with that one. So give yourself a pat on the back, Kev. I guess you earned it.

That about wraps it up. Pretty good post, right? A little music, a little movie. Let me end it here before I spoil it.

P.S. I've been drawing a lot lately.

Friday, April 15, 2011

3DS- My Journey So Far

So I've had the 3DS for almost a good 3 weeks now and I feel like I can finally summarize my feelings on it.

Right off the bat, the 3D effect is awesome. I'm sure you've heard this enough but yes, it really just works and it works magnificently. Every little detail just feels cool to look at. What time is it? Oh, I'll just check the time since it's popping out at my face. I feel like playing Pilotwings but I'll just stare at the plane that's popping out of the screen before I start the game. I miss my room. Let me just stare at 3D photos of my bed and pretend like it's closer than it really is. It's all really cool and is totally complementary to every facet of the system. I have yet to experience any headaches or cross-eyd issues from playing with the 3D on for extended amounts of time and I play with 3D at full blast until my battery is dead. Really, the only side-effect I have experienced- if you can even call it that- is that after playing for a while, immediately moving onto my computer makes text on web pages appear as if it's popping off the screen. So really the 3DS has just given me super-vision. Who can complain about that?

The only time I ever turn down the 3D is while playing Pilotwings. Sometimes there is just so much shit going on at once that I begin to see double-vision of items that appear closer to the screen. This has been the only game that this has happened with and it's probably due to the amount of disparity between stuff in the background and foreground. That's my guess at least. And as far as Pilotwings goes, I actually had a lot more fun with it than I had anticipated. It took me like 20+ hours to get 3 stars on every challenge and collect everything in Free-Flight Mode. I could have gone the extra mile and tried to get a perfect score for every mission but I am nowhere near masochistic enough to put myself through that. The title is still a bit shallow in the amount of content but if you want something that is great technical showcase for the 3D and a game that's easy to pick up and put down then Pilotwings definitely warrants a purchase.

Once I had my fill with Pilotwings I needed something to fill the void and hold me over for Zelda, Cave Story and the like. So per recommendation of some of my fellow forum members I went ahead and bought Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars. Bad move on my part. Yeah, it's a good game but I just found it to be incredibly bland. It had great gameplay mechanics and moving around my soldiers like little pieces on a board game was pretty cool but nothing else in the game kept me engaged. It had some cliché war conflict tale with Russian terrorists, the characters kept having annoying conversations and it just felt like a DS game. The graphics were incredibly sub-par for what we should expect of 3DS games. Sure, it's a launch title and I suppose that's excusable but take some of the other titles that are already doing things that the DS could never even come close to emulating.

So I sold that. Then I bought Street Fighter! This is the game I should've gotten from the start. I always had a yearning for it but I was too timid to dive into the SF community in fear of getting my ass handed to me on a regular basis but I finally took the plunge! I played against a fellow 3DS owner from the forums earlier today and to my complete and utter shock I did not completely suck! It was an actual fight with both of us having a number of wins and losses and it was fun as hell! The game ports perfectly over to the 3DS and just feels good to play. The addition of the analog nub is perfect for pulling off combos and the 3D gives the game a great look, like looking onto a little stage. I'm glad I never bought SFIV for the PS3 when I had wanted some time ago. This experience is very new for me and it's exciting to finally be a apart of the brawler genre which I had personally excluded myself from.

Aside from these launch titles, the 3DS is packed with software and it's all just real nifty stuff. The AR Cards are really impressive to see the first time. However, like any software like it, it's hard to find the right amount of brightness to play smoothly and the 3D is actually pretty irritating for the AR games. I've taken some 3D pics and sometimes they come out looking amazing and sometimes they just look blurry. Then there's StreetPass which I am totally hooked on. I collect my 10 coins and make sure my friends with 3DS's have wireless enabled so I can abuse their friendship for puzzle pieces. They give me something to do every day and I get to put cute little hats on my Mii. I don't really use the 3DS Sound because I already use my phone as an MP3 player. The music visualizers are really cool though. Activity Log is also pretty sweet but only if you like to track your own habits like I do. It's not really needed but it's a nice feature.

The 3DS itself is a really nice size considering how much power they packed into it, even if the battery life did have to suffer for it. It has a great weight to it and is fun to walk around with. At this point I can seamlessly move into and out of 3D without any issues focusing but the 3D never stops being incredible to look at. The whole thing is built pretty well except for one thing... the top and bottom screen come into contact when the 3DS is closed which leaves marks on the top screen from the bottom border. It hasn't been a huge problem for me but I recently discovered 3 legitimate scratches on my bottom screen. I have no idea where they came from or how but it is driving me crazy. I need some screen protectors post-haste!

So yeah that pretty much covers it. There is a big update coming for the system in May, which adds a web browser, 3DS store, Virtual Console and other online implementations. It'll be like the system being released in full for the first time. It's probably how Nintendo wanted to release the system but for whatever reason had to get it out before they could pack everything in. Oh well, I would have gone crazy if I had to wait this long for the system.

Lots to look forward to.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hold it!

So maybe you've heard of the popular Ace Attorney series and maybe you haven't. It started off a series of very popular Japanese GBA titles and would eventually find a home amongst DS/gaming enthusiasts here in the United States. In it you assume the role of one Phoenix Wright and more recently one of his many cohorts. These characters move on from court case to crime scene to court case wrapping up murders and all the while discovering the true meaning of nobility and honest. None of this really matters anymore because the latest installment in the series Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Miles Edgeworth is not getting a US localization. Shit. 

I am a huge fan of the Ace Attorney series. I first discovered it in the form of a flash animation parodying the games by matching up the sprite animations with different bits of audio. Even though I had never even heard of the series I found it freaking hilarious and in an odd way quickly fell in love with the series. I did some research and after a while I actually sought the games out- I don't really remember how long it took between learning about and playing the series- they were like 10 bucks for each title so I just took em all down in rapid succession. The first 3 were already released with the 4th title, Apollo Justice soon to be available.

I couldn't put them down. It's like reading a really good book and you just have to find out what will happen the next chapter. Which makes sense because the series takes the form of interactive novels. Seriously if you want to break it down the games are just reading and every now and again you select an item to move the story along. Not really for everyone but I really dig it. The stories are funny, the locations are cool, the characters are (mostly) lovable. It's a nice little story with a lot of heart. Sure it can be a little cheesy but its charms makes it worthwhile. You should check it out.

So here I am saying goodbye to a treasured series and some beloved characters. But hey, it's not completely over! We've still got a Professor Layton + Ace Attorney crossover in the works and I assume a stateside release hasn't been scrapped... not yet at least. And I could always read the manga...

*sigh* oh well. We had good run, guys. Gives me something to build upon if I ever decide to take up Criminal Justice as a hobby.

See you guys in that big court in the sky. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


When I created this blog I had the intention of writing posts about music and bands and such. Then I realized that I don't really know anything about music aside from being able to tell people what songs I'm really digging at the moment. So I think I'm gonna start sharing songs on this blog.

I've been listening to a lot of Best Coast lately. It's lo-fi so it has this awesome echoey and dreamy sound to it. The lyrics are totally cute and I have a thing for indie female lead singers. My heart throbs for them. Makes me think of Summer. So here are two of my favorite songs off their debut album Crazy for You. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

3DS- The Unboxening

It would be better if I had a cameraman. It's pretty much me reading while you stare at my wall. 

You're welcome.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Time Is Now

In a matter of hours I will be in the possession of a new Aqua Blue Nintendo 3DS. It's been a long time coming. From pre-E3 speculation to it's eventual unveiling and all the hype and news that followed. This will be the second system that I pick up on launch, the first one being the Wii way back in '06 when I was a measly 12 years old! Those were some good times. It was also the first time I ever owned and beat a Zelda game. I owned a golden copy of Majora's Mask that some kid lent me and I never returned prior to that (I was a sneaky kleptomaniac in my early days) but in my anime post we covered that Zelda games gave me the creeps so it was just gathering dust.

I recently had the pleasure of sampling the 3DS's wares at my local Best Buy and hey it really works! The first time using it really has a big "wow" factor to it. The technology works so seamlessly and pulls off 3D without a hitch like creating a small window right in front your eyes. We're slowly getting to the point where technology becomes so advanced it becomes indistinguishable from magic. Techno-wizardy I think is the term for it.

Unfortunately I didn't get too extensive with it because there were some people behind me. I hate gaming kiosks. So right now that memory seems like a dream almost. Did I actually experience the 3DS firsthand? It all seems so rushed.

Up until about a week ago I was torn on what game I should buy along with the 3DS. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I needed everything to be perfect.

Pilotwings? It seems pretty shallow. Street Fighter? Nah, I suck at 2D fighters and I'll just end up throwing my 3DS in frustration. Ghost Recon Shadow Wars? Seems pretty ordinary. Nintendogs + Cats? I have a dog for that. Rayman 3D? Hey, yeah! That sou- oh shit those reviews could be better... Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory? I like Splinter Cell! But, that comes out in April! I can't wait that long! Do I wait or spend money on something I don't really want? Fuck it. Pilotwings it is.

To which I must say: good call, me!

Thanks, me! Yeah Splinter Cell got some pretty bad impressions. Wonky controls, clumsy camera, unjustifiably lackluster graphics. Not really what I expected. While on the other hand Pilotwings has been getting some decent to great reviews and I did enjoy what I saw at Best Buy.

So here I am. Almost half a day away from the 3DS. My GameStop didn't get enough pre-orders to hold a midnight launch event but I don't think I would have been able to go tonight anyway. Which is good because if they were holding one and I couldn't go I don't think I could handle it.

I will be making a post on my impressions on Pilotwings and the system as a whole. Excitement! Maybe I'll even making an unboxing video! I've always wanted to do one of those. Depends on if I can pull off sounding cool and collected whilst masking my heavy breathing and high-pitched squeals.

I'll certainly try.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back In Business

For the last few days, my temporarily cold and joyless room has restored to its former glory as the low hum of a new PS3 bounced against the walls and I have returned to my normally scheduled activity of playing video games forever. I actually haven't done much else but play PS3 since I set it back up. Before that I was spending a lot of my time playing Minecraft (blog post incoming) with some pals. Now I'm just trying to cram as many hours of worry-free playtime before I have to go back to school in about 28 hours.

In particular I have been playing 2 games- and what do you know, they're from the same development team! 

After I got through setting everything up PSN-wise and reinstalling my downloadable titles, I popped in GTAIV per my best buddy Alex's request and we both hopped into an online free roam of Liberty City- a sort of past time of ours. For hours we wrecked cars, ran over civilians, drove helicopters into the ground, committed suicide. Really fun and wholesome stuff. After we called it a night I considered replaying the game through it's entirety. Now that my saved data was kaput it was time to re-log some hours into my library just to prove that I've given them all a run. Then I decided against it. I love GTAIV but I needed something more. Something deeper. Something more perfect. I decided that game is Red Dead Redemption. But get this, I'm not actually replaying RDR. This would actually count more as my first real play through. I picked that game up first day and I never even got close to finishing it and I fucking love this game. 

It's pretty shameful but it was just a bad time for me. I was going through an identity crisis during the first half of 2010. I've sorted it all out and now almost a year later I feel like I'm really playing this game for the first time. This game is just dripping with personality and style and life! The whole game really feels like a living and breathing world. The characters are convincing, their back stories are intricate and interesting. And I'm not usually a big history buff but anything set in the early years of the 20th century really draws me in. I feel more cultured and intelligent just playing a game set in the middle of Americas' industrial developments. I don't think there has ever been a more immersive title. Everything is fun and carries a very rugged but adventurous spirit of the old west. Even playing poker makes me feel like a badass vigilante relaxing after a big bust. Turn off the lights and I could swear I am John Marston, if just for a moment. 

I must have played for like 15 hours or so last night. I think that might be a personal record. I can't be sure but record or not it's more than half a day. I'm actually playing right now. I think I'll go back to Dead Space 2 after this. I was able to beat the game right before I lost the PS3 but I don't mind replaying. Besides that we've got some big titles coming in over the next few months. Portal 2, L.A. Noire, InFamous 2, Shadows of the Damned, Catherine... ah, it's good to be back. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


During my conquest of all things anime a couple of friends recommended I watch this small series called Fooly Cooly. They guaranteed that I would love it and would just talk about how crazy it was. I asked them what it was about but they wouldn't let me in on the plot. They just gave me small bits where the characters would break the fourth wall, that the show was generally perverse and it was revealed to me that Fooly Cooly means "to fondle a woman's breasts". With these clues I came to the conclusion that this would be your run-of-the-mill, meta, satirical and raunchy comedy anime.

Pretty much it was none of these things. 

Your first time viewing FLCL the only thought that will probably be going through your mind is "What the fuck is going on in this anime?" as you blankly sit there with a look on your face that is halfway between confused and concerned. But you can't even concentrate on thinking about it for too long and putting the pieces together because the show just throws more things at you to literally make you gape in amazement but you don't even know what it is that you're loving so much. 

My friends told me Fooly Cooly was a lot like Scott Pilgrim. And they were right. Although it would probably be more correct to say that Scott Pilgrim is like Fooly Cooly. Which makes sense because Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O'Malley credited FLCL as being a major inspiration for him. 

It's easy to see what concepts and styles he carried into SP. FLCL is about Naota, a young boy who is leading a normal life until a crazed young woman claiming to be an alien runs him over with her motor-bike and throws this average kid into an insane, logic-defying adventure packed with pop-culture references and over-the-top action. 

And it's easy to see why my friends knew I would love it. 

I was really lost the first time I watched FLCL about two nights ago. Everything is incredibly disjointed and I could not make any sense of anything. I cannot stress enough how hard it was to connect any two scenes together. I finally understood how people felt when they said they found Scott PIlgrim confusing- a feeling I never experienced. But Scott Pilgrim is still a much more linear story that is supposed to make sense behind all the madness. It's straightforward. FLCL is never straight on what it's trying to tell you. There are a series of underlying themes for every bit of action and dialogue. The consensus is that it's a coming-of-age story. I won't tell you how. It'll be more fun if you make the connections yourself.

It's a hell of an adventure. Bryan Lee O'Malley was right. For an anime from ten years ago this one is completely stunning in it's animation and it's execution. Everything works together to form a perfect combination of sound, look and plot that ensures anyone watching wouldn't be able to avert their eyes as they're totally sucked into the insanity of Naota's life. And for 6 episodes it really packs a powerful punch. I thought I would be done in no time but the show is so mentally draining (in a good way!) that I was always checking how much time remained in an episode thinking I must have long surpassed the 21 minute runtime. 

So to sum it all up: FLCL is an exciting, charming, funny and surprisingly sweet story that could only be done with anime. I have ordered my Blu-ray copy of the series on Amazon and look forward to sharing it with friends for years to come.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Hobby Long Overdue

The first result when I Google searched 'anime'.

I've always been drawn to anime. Some anime used to scare me, usually the ones that they would play on Adult Swim. But this fear was usually instilled by anything that came out of Japan. I remember I used to get scared by the Mask Guy from Majora's Mask and every time I put on a Deku mask I would shit my pants because of Link's shrieks of pain. However, there was anime that would totally captivate me as a little kid. The youthful adventure, the nobility and spirit that came with a lot of the characters, the explosive, impossibly dramatized and colorful battles. It spoke to me. So much anime is based in fantastical fantasy world where life is about living to the fullest and never turning your nose up at the chance of a new adventure. As a kid I had always and to this day still do pine for a life like that. Where the impossible is just another 24 minute episode away. 

I really miss  the good ol' days watching Pokemon.

I used to watch some DBZ when I was in elementary school, a bit of Sailor Moon- which I think was partly due to my younger sister- and Pokemon which would have been impossible to avoid even if I didn't know what anime was. Yet aside from Pokemon, this never became a trend and I didn't really grow up watching any anime like some other kids I knew. But because of them I was always aware of some of the more popular ones which would just usually be whatever was on Cartoon Network.  My extreme childhood fascination with Pokemon would dwindle down to a distanced appreciation for the franchise and aside from a couple of moments with months of time in-between, anime would have no part in my life. 

Then it must have been about the 7th maybe 8th grade when Cartoon Network was premiering Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow. Boom. Just like that a fiery passion for anime was ignited inside of me. I had seen Naruto a few times before but those episodes weren't as grandiose as that movie. I was completely amazed that something that fulfilled my creative desires so perfectly had been around for so long and there I was brushing it off! That day I made a promise to myself that I would watch Naruto from the beginning and surely this would be the start of my official self-introduction in to the world and culture of anime. Nope. Nothing happened. I don't know if it's because I didn't really know how to start or if I just forgot but that was it. I still carried a love for Naruto as I would make sure to let people know my admiration for it whenever I would overhear it in another conversation.

Intricate. Suspenseful. Confusing.

So it would be a couple of years and I would watch Naruto if it was on sometimes. Nothing big. Then there was this moment last year. A friend of mine gave me the first volume of Death Note. While anime and  manga aren't the same they both stem from the same root. I actually followed through with reading the rest of Death Note and thoroughly enjoying it. My next move- remembering my love of Naruto- was to read the Naruto manga from start to finish. I actually started reading it and bought the first 8 volumes. Discovering that I had about a bajillion more to go, I decided this wasn't the most cost-effective decision. Once again, my fervency for Japanimation subsided but this time it would be for a smaller period of time

Just last month I was on Netflix looking for something to watch on Instant Streaming when an impulse came over me. I went to the Anime & Animation category and just went to town on that shit. I immediately started adding everything that was even remotely interesting to me to my Instant Queue. There was so much to choose from!

I started with Ouran High School Host Club.


Adorable characters, hyper-realized school life, youthful love. It was all there and I was freaking loving every moment. I have once again fallen heads-over-heel in love with the world of anime. The art style, the adventure, the obligatory speeches on love and peace. It's tailor made for people like me.

Following Ouran I would start to watch Fruits Basket. I wanted to continue to watch light anime that were mostly just wacky kids getting into trouble. This was... not so hot. It was just so girly. And sure Ouran was pretty girly but it was girly in a mocking way. Fruits Basket is legitimately for tweens who wanted to ogle and giggle at a girl caught in a supernatural with a bunch of hunky and mysterious dudes. Pass.

I immediately jumped into FullMetal Alchemist. I had heard about this series many times from anime fans before. But would the popularity live up to my expectations? Yes. Yes forever. I would spend about a month watching the entire series on Netflix. It was fun, intense and sometimes surprisingly dark. The whole series crosses into philosophical questions of life and death in a wonderfully created universe where Alchemy overcame science and machines. It was gripping from start to finish with a total bomb being dropped at the end that leads up to an equally awesome film finale- FullMetal Alchemist: The Movie: Conquerer of Shamballa. I was ready to continue the adventure with FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood until I found it wasn't a sequel to the first series but rather a recreation that stuck to the manga and told a different story. I was kinda sad. Regardless, I ordered the disc through the mail and I still haven't sent it back. The beginning is so similar to the series that I just finished watching that I can't held but fall asleep. It's also mostly due to the fact that I try to watch it after coming home from school and I'm without energy to even speak. So, yeah. I'll get that done this week.

That brings us to now! There are 3 anime that I am in the midst of viewing.

Darker Than Black

This is pretty meh so far. I haven't decided if I like it enough to even keep watching so not much on that. I like it it's just moving along kinda slow and I've been told it's no good so who knows.

Soul Eater

I'm enjoying this quite a lot. The characters are cool and the universe is interesting but some things are confusing because it's a hybrid of our world and there are demons and humans can become demons and yeah. The plot is fine. Just some things are cheesy and dumb. There's one character whose name is Dr. Franken Stein. Mmhmm. There was some other allusion like that which I found equally upsetting. But there's one thing that really puts me off about the show sometimes and it's the art direction. The academy where the main characters go to train to become demon killers is really gross-looking and they show it off in CGI and it's just so gaudy. Then there's the sun and the moon which have faces on them and it's just annoying as shit to have them lingering behind every scene. I can't take it seriously sometimes. We could have an intense moment happening and the fucking sun is heaving in the background like he's watching people have sex through a window across the street. The moon is just bleeding all the time. Not as bad but still. I find that the show just looks oddly distorted for the most part. I can deal.

Gurren Lagann

Boobs and robots. Anime at its finest.

Now I am really digging this one. It was recommended to me by a friend who was hesitant to let me know about it because they knew I would like it. They feared this would result in me never being able to shut the hell up about therefore ruining it for everyone because the anime would become synonymous with me.(See: Scott Pilgrim) Well they were right on the money and I apologize for nothing!  Gurren Lagann is about a post-apocalyptic world where humans have to fight a horde of enemies in giant mecha in order to survive. Then a couple of bad-asses who were living underground until their home was invaded steal a mecha and use fighting spirit and pure heart and to fight back; ushering in a new reign of human resistance! AWESOME! It's a lot of crazy, nonsensical fights loaded with breasts as a bonus. Reminds me of Gundam, except Gundam wasn't as sexy.

My relationship with anime has been a strained one with it's ups and downs but we finally seem to have been reunited for good. What will I watch next?! Cast your vote now!

So that's about it. But last night I saw FLCL. Holy shit. This warrants it's own post.

P.S. I would be remiss if I wrote this much about anime and don't bring up what's happened in Japan. For a place where so many of my favorite things are born this takes a heavy toll on me. It's always painful to see something like this happen and feel hopeless at the inability to get in there and help but my heart is with those affected by this and we can hope that everything is being done to move towards a resolution for those in need.

Spring Break: Indoors

Aaaah Spring Break! A time to frolic and soak up some sun as you and your best buds hit up the beach! 


You can stay inside and catch up with all your hobbies that ultimately just require you to look at different screens for hours on end which you would be doing even if you didn't have the time off for it! 


Now that I have this whole week off I can dedicate my time entirely to watching anime, being able to play my PS3 games once again and reading! I also have some time for my eternally beautiful and compassionate audience- that's right I'm talking about you! I've had some posts I've been wanting to churn out and now I totes can! So let's bring down those blinds, and sever all communications with the outside to make this the best Spring Break ever! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Night

The Academy Awards are on tonight! So many celebrities converged in one place pumps me up for a future in the film industry.

This year I have seen 7 of the 10 films that are nominated for the Best Picture category. I really wish I had seen em all but hey 7 out of 10 is a personal best! I missed out on 127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right and Winter's Bone. I actually just saw The King's Speech last night. I made a promise to myself that I would see it before the show tonight and when I make a promise (to myself) I keep it damn it!

So here are my predictions for tonight's winner:

Actor in a Leading Role- Colin Firth for The King's Speech
Actor in a Supporting Role- Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech
Actress in a Leading Role- Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Actress in a Supporting Role- Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
Animated Feature Film- Toy Story 3
Art Direction- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Cinematography- Inception
Costume Design- True Grit 
Directing- The Social Network
Documentary (Feature)- Exit Through the Gift Shop
Documentary (Short Subject)- Killing in the Name
Film Editing- Black Swan
Foreign Language Film- Biutiful
Makeup- The Wolfman
Music (Original Score)- The Social Network
Music (Original Song)- Coming Home (from Country Strong)
Best Picture- The King's Speech
Short Film (Animated)- Day & Night
Short Film (Live Action)- God of Love
Sound Editing- Tron: Legacy
Sound Mixing- Inception 
Visual Effects- Inception
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)- The Social Network
Writing (Original Screenplay)- The King's Speech

Man, this is a tough one. So many great films and actors! I hope everybody just starts to hold hands and give an award to everyone in America! Take my predictions on these lightly because I'm pretty much torn on every field.  Now, I know I haven't seen everything that is up for nominations tonight so my opinions may not be 100% accurate and not entirely fair but I've seen a hell of a lot! And it's just fun to guess. So let's see how savvy I am in award predictions.

Congratulations to all the people that worked on these films and thank you for being so incredible!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Things have gotten better since my last post. The initial shock and sadness has worn down a lot and we have now taken extra security measures to protect our house. I have now replaced my computer so I can get back to my routine activities.

Things have been pretty crazy this past week but I'm gonna get back to posting soon. I've been watching a lot of anime lately.

So if you remember, I recently mentioned a short story that I had to write for my AP English class. Well, here it is. It's called "The Negotiation" and I'm quite proud with how it turned out. Except for the ending. We were supposed to write like 2-3 pages and I was going on 6 so I had to cut it short and I couldn't flesh it out as much as I wanted to. So it may seem a bit more pretentious than how I would've liked. I hope you enjoy it!

Update: I just remembered that there was a consistency error with the 2 times mentioned in the story. The first time is correct. It was late and I didn't notice the mistake. 

Friday, February 11, 2011


My house was robbed today.

They completely raided the place. I have no idea how to go about this. We're going to try and recooperate our stuff over the coming weeks.

This is completely fucking devastating. I'm not bothered so much by the fact that our things were taken, which I am still hurt by since I had sentimetnal value in them but they are still just things, but the idea that we could invest so much time and money into acquring these things and someone could just come into the place you feel the safest, your own freaking house, and take it all away from you.

My room and my mom's room was juct completely turned over. To know that someone was in there just pulling shit out of the wall and without regard just tearing through every piece of furniture. It hurts. Every moment since I got home to find it all gone hurts. There is nothing that can be done. This shit happens but you never think it will happen to you.

This is the second time my house is robbed. Last time I was like 12 and I wasn't told about the robbery until like years after. This time they took thousands of dollars in jewelry from my mom and it was just disgusting to see the state that they left her room in. They took my mom and sister's laptops. They took mine and my stepdad's iPads. They took my desktop computer and my game consoles. They took the spare key's to my stepdad's car. They even took the DVR for the cameras. These people knew what they were doing.

When I first got home I was mostly in shock so I didn't really do anything but then I noticed that they took one of my pillow cases to throw stuff into and carry it out and that fucking hit me hard.

Fortunately, due to circumstances with my sister's laptop harddrive she bought an external drive which I then used to back up my harddrive a few weeks ago. Something I never do. So now whenever I get a computer I have all my data.

Things will be back to normal eventually. That much I know but it doesn't change the fact that they took more than just things. They took our things. And no matter what people say, that hurts.

But I'm physically okay. My family is ok and my dogs weren't hurt. So that's good. I'll be fine.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I think it is worth noting that two days ago the earth celebrated the birth of two it's finest historical characters: Charles Dickens and Ashton Kutcher.

Let us take a look at some of their accomplishments and see how they stack up.

Charles Dickens
  • He wrote a bunch of great shit. Like Great Expectations. That was good, right?
  • His stuff is like 180 years old and people are still loving that stuff. So he's immortal. That's awesome.
Ashton Kutcher
  • He had that one show on MTV. Lot's of famous people were on it. But I don't think anybody liked him.
  • He married Demi Moore. This is more of a personal achievement but it's worth something I guess.
  • He was nominated for 3 Kid's Choice Awards and won once! Wow! Never saw Dickens get any awards.

Seems like Ashton Kutcher takes the cake here. Look at that. He had 3 whole bullet points. That is worth some commending. Congratulations, Mr. Kutcher on a successful career!

But it wasn't only their births the world was rejoicing that day. Yes, that's right. It was my birthday too. 17 years of hard labor and determination has resulted in the young man that sits opposites of these words as they are being typed this very moment. This age has brought with it many luxuries that society once made sure to keep away from me until the day that I was ready to earn them. I can now attend my local theatre and watch films that are explicit in nature without having to work the system or have my mom present. The same goes for video games. I will also be receiving my license in a matter of days by which I will attend such films and acquire said games. It is all quite splendid.

I'm quite proud. Now, in honor of myself let us take a quick look at some of my greatest accomplishments.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A serious dilemma.

I knew this day was coming. That it was inevitable. That it would just be a matter of time before I presented with a problem I knew I just wasn't ready to face. And yet I sat by and waited for it to happen. I should have prepared. How could I be so naive?

The day has come and now I pay the price...

I've begun to run out of space for video-games.

I've been managing to put this off for quite some time now by selling games that I no longer really cared for. But it could only last for so long. I am now facing a spacial issue and being the anol and organized person that I am this is a huge deal for me.

Next to my desk I have a a shelf piece that looks like an L that has been flipped vertically and then horizontally. Here's a picture.
As you can see, the shelf is divided up into different units of storage which I then fill up with games/books depending on the categories they fall into.

On top of the entire piece itself I have created a section for graphic novels/manga. I have Scott Pilgrim, Y: The Last Man, Scott Pilgrim, Kick-Ass, some Naruto and Death Note. I also have a really cool SP poster in vain of Street Fighter. The 3 shelves that run along from the top are all books. The first from the left are Artemis Fowls books and other novels that I throughly enjoy and do not belong in the closet i.e. House of Leaves, John Dies, Douglas Adams etc. The section to the right of that is Harry Potter which is self explanatory. It's the entire series in order. Then to the right of that is Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events which is also tight on space due to books that are part of the universe but not an installment in the series.

Once we get to that point, the shelf then descend into a column of games. From top to bottom the games are ordered: PS3, Wii, DS, Misc. The Misc. section is just for games that I like to keep close but really don't fit elsewhere. More than half of it is PS2 games but there is some Gamecube and PSP thrown in there. I have room room for like 4 more Wii games and I wouldn't mind departing with or shelving 1 or 2 games there so I'm not concerned and I actually ran out of space for DS games some time ago but the cases are small so I found a way to keep them together that isn't really ideal for me but it will have to do. This method is the first thing I tried with my PS3 games but the cases are too tall.
So that bring us to the PS3 shelf. I just ran out of space when I bought LBP2 and Dead Space 2 this month. There are more PS3 games inbound this year so I'm seriously screwed if I don't find a way to organize this. I'm afraid I'll have to start putting things into... the closet.

Or I could just put stuff from Misc. onto my 2 shelves of gaming paraphernalia. I could have a nice little shrine for my Kingdom Hearts games and with the 3DS coming out I can actually put all my DS games away somewhere and I won't feel the pain as much.

All I know, is that some serious organizing is in order. I've also considered just putting all my books away and having only videogames on my shelf. But my mind somehow connects that to loss of character so I don't know how I feel about that. I don't really want 2 shelves of PS3 game either. Ugh...

I know I'll figure out. It may take some compromise but I'll come to a decision.

P.S. Did you guys miss having photos in these blog posts? I sure did!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Well, I was going to write a post about videogames and January and the fun that was sure to await me and I was going to talk about the new Kingdom Hearts game I got for my DS today. But then bad things happened. So this post will go down a much more sullen path.

So for a while now the right shoulder button on my DSi hasn't worked. This is a pretty standard issue for pretty much all generations of this console. I myself experienced on my DS Lite but I can' remember if it fixed itself or not. So anyway, I recently became more involved with my DSi and the games I have yet to finish in anticipation of the 3DS- which I reserved the other day- and in this process the shoulder button was really getting on my nerves. Navigating menus was cumbersome and in some cases crucial functions were but a fleeting dream. So my first thought is to buy some compressed air in hopes that maybe there is just some dirt trapped in the crevices. So today I got some and unfortunately that didn't work. The air just wasn't working it's way in there. So the next idea I had was to use rubbing alcohol. I called my mom in to help me out. So she goes to grab some rubbing alcohol. I will now transcribe the events that unfolded.

Me: Ok, Mom. Use a dripper or something because we only need a few drops in-between the crevice.

My mom cooperates and uses a tiny dripper and we squirt the rubbing alcohol into the side of the shoulder button. It wasn't as precise as I had hoped but some definitely worked it's way in. After cleaning off the rest and clicking the button a couple of times I turn it on and it works! Woohoo!

My mom then proceeds to snatch the system out of my hands and starts to pour rubbing alcohol all over the top and bottom screens.

Me: Mom, stop! You can't put that much you're going to damage it!

My mom had plenty of time to stop but it's like in a bad dream when you're yelling at someone but they can't hear you.

Me: Mom! Stop! Stop! What are you doing?!

My mom has at this point drenched the whole thing in rubbing alcohol and begins to rub it in with paper towels.

I quickly took the DSi away from her and turned it on to made sure it worked. The shoulder button was working. I was happy. I then returned to my private quarters to get back into Kingdom Hearts, this time with a proper handling of the camera system.

No. That is not what happened. That shit backfired. Hard. Now the shoulder button only works when it wants to and when it does the system menu bricks and Kingdom Hearts takes me to the main menu and then I can't go anywhere from there. At first I thought the game was broken and I wanted to die but then I tried 358/2 Days and it doesn't work either so it's just the system because Pokemon works just fine.

This was supposed to be a good day damn it! I am so distressed. Writing about it helps though. I'll just borrow my friends DSi and beat Kingdom Hearts. Yeah. It'll be okay.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Post for Learned Youngsters

Oh, man! What a great Thursday! I only had rehearsal for Wednesday so the rest of the week is totally chill. I mean, if you decide to neglect most of the responsibilities that come with my classes it is.

English class is freaking awesome right now. We're in the middle of reading A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and I'm really digging it. Before this we glossed over Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain and we went really in depth with The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Now, being a fan of literature, I can appreciate works like Pudd'nhead and Scarlet Letter on a certain level but the writing is really daunting. Hawthorne's more than anything. Then here comes along Hemingway with a fresh and straightforward story and character. It's great. Everything he writes is completely blunt and repetitive and it drones on and on and it's through his lack of flourish that he is able to tell a story differently from any other literature at his time.

Hemingway is part of a group called "The Lost Generation". This pretty much ran from the 1920-30's. Essentially it was the sign of an age where people of great intellect were overcoming the ideas of American labor. The daily routine of work a 9-to-5 job to support your family was not acceptable for them. They looked beyond their restraints and sulked in their depression at being stuck in a world where so few shared their same outlook. This all comes into place with the concept of existentialism. It's the philosophy of why anybody is who they are at a specific time and why. It also delves into the concepts of human individuality and one's purpose in life. A lot of this came out of post-WWI discussions. Which is the setting of A Farewell to Arms.

So these are the topics that we were discussing today in class. Before today I already had an interest in the ideas associated with existentialism. Not too come across as pretentious or anything but I often myself being lost in my thoughts as to why anything really is rather than keeping my sights set on just making sure it gets done. This isn't necessarily a positive attribute because in the eyes of the rest of the world this would appear as just a common slacker. In the Greek myth of Sisyphus this is referred to as the "absurd hero". Sisyphus, who lives in the underworld, defies the laws of his nature/existence and is condemned by the gods to an endless torture of rolling a boulder to the top of a mountain only to have it fall back down. Yet through his punishment, Sisyphus gains a new view on the world he used to belong to and becomes conscious of his situation. He does not want to go back to his old life because he now realizes that it wasn't the life he ever wanted. So his eternal punishment becomes his greatest gift as he now has grander view on life than anybody that is till trapped within their lives. So this knowledge brings him happiness, but what does he really gain? The truth can often times bring a pain greater than what our realities may hold for us. So did Sisyphus really win? What is our reality but what we make of it.

Existentialism really is an amazing philosophy.It questions our very humanity. I feel like I have a strong connection to the idea and even Hemingway himself. I'm nowhere near as adventurous as him but my writing more often than not has a very flat and direct tone to it. I recently wrote a short story for my english class that I'm pretty proud of. Maybe I'll share it later.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hey look!

I finally fixed the banner! I didn't think that was a task I could tackle all on my own.

Let's play catchup.

Hey... it's been a while. How are you? Oh, that's good to hear. Yeah, um, I've been good... so, hey, I know I haven't posted in like, what, 4 months? But you know I would never leave you without good reason! So why don't we just pretend like I was here the entire time and we can move on with our lives. Okay. Good.

So new year, new posts. I guess a good resolution would be to write more and with some consistency as well. Last time I posted it was the first day of school followed by total silence. I'm pretty sure the situation is self explanatory.

So on the school side of things, I'm kinda getting my ass kicked by classes. I'm taking two mind-wrenching- to me at least- math classes and on top of that of that I have two college level courses for English and History. I really fucking hate mathematics so yeah I'm planning on easing up on that next year. But I do love English and I can tolerate History but the work sometimes is just bullshit but I get to learn about a lot of historically significant topics i.e. wars and famous literature. The literature is more fun.

I'm also taking Italian 1. The teacher is pretty damn out there so it makes the class a nuisance but I'm learning a 3rd language so I feel cultured at the end of the day. I'd like to learn to speak French and German some day.

I've also become more involved in extra-curricular activities. In my journey to become an actor I have taken up a position in my school's drama department. I've made some pretty great friends and I'm getting to work on my acting. It's been going pretty well. We're doing a play for the first week of February entitled "The Man Who Came to Dinner". I play the role of Beverly Carlton, a very famous, very british, and extremely flamboyant actor. It's my first real role I guess we could say.

Then between school there is a bunch of stuff sprinkled in-between. I bought some games, I bought some movies, I saw some movies. I'm enjoying my youth.

I just recently made it a priority to invest some time into Anime. I've always been captivated by the stuff but I never really devote any time to it. Well, I just finished watching a series called "Ouran High School Host Club". I really adore it. I'm a huge sucker for high-school/slice-of-life type settings. It only ran for one season and doesn't go through the rest of the story that's depicted in the manga so I'm strongly considering reading it now. After that I started watching Fullmetal Alchemist and of course it's incredible. I have a lot on my plate if I keep this trend going.

On the topic of television shows, I pretty much had to abandon every show that I watch except for Community due to rough schoolwork schedules. Sucks. But I'm getting by!

So I think that's it for now. Sorry if this post was less than riveting but I just wanted to make sure we're all up to speed. I really want to write more here and with less restraint even if it means just popping with tiny little blurbs. So yeah we have a full year to look forward to together. Let's make the most of it!

P.S. For who it interests I'm gonna put up a link on the side somewhere here to my Tumblr and Twitter just in case you want to make sure you read every tiny thought that escapes my mind.