Reviews and random thoughts brought about by various movies, series, music, books, travels, social behavior and what not...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Get your own 'Plants and Zombies' today!!!

Based on the characters of Pop Cap Games' runamay hit 'Plants vs Zombies', comes these cute little figurines as sculpted by Mon Ontoy of Itsamontoy.

The reason why they don't come in one box set. The plants will just make 'kuyog' the poor little zombie.

These 2 to 3 inches tall figurines show as much character as the ones in the PC game which they are based on. And I like the way the packaging is designed and done (with a proudly stamped 'made in the Philippines' on the side).

As soon as I got them, my son quickly unpacked them and re-enacted the
PC game...with a twist ("the repeater pea shooters doesn't walk, boy)

You can get them individually (characters of your choice) or you can get the whole set to play around away from your PC or to display. A fine gift for those who are fans of the game. I originally planned to add them in my son's aquarium (combining his 2 loves: fishes and 'Plants vs Zombies'), but gazing into the puppy like googly eyes of the zombie, I haven't got the heart to plunge him into his proposed watery resting spot.

Plants beware. This zombie is highly mobile.

You can get yours by contacting Adrian (09224824717) or Zalby (09267065997) or by visiting their Multiply or Facebook page.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Different Kind of Power Pop with "RedLightGo"

I was in my 'mind in flotation' mode in one of our gigs at Headstock Bar when up the stage came a group of young lads testing the equipment with distorted guitar sounds and techno synth samples. At first I thought they must be a rap metal act. Then they started to play some pop-song-inspired-like progressions which made me think, "what the fig!?! are they a show band? There's a show band here?".

What came next is a fine mix of the of Emo Punk dynamics with light overtones and the upbeat approach you find in alternative rock or pop rock. The band, which I later learned to be named 'Red Light Go', caught my attention with their onstage energy and song dynamics. And the flamboyant use of synths that can compare with some of the popular local and foreign alternative rock acts, which I rarely see in amateur acts.

The band is made up of Remar Sabangan on vocals, Adrian Balagot on guitars and vocals, Niko Tolipas on drums, Migz De Guzman on bass and Mark Quieta on synths and vocals.

Alternate Reality sits down with Adrian Balagot, RedLightGo's guitarist and vocalist, to get the low down on the band (cause I was sitting down when I sent them the mail, and I assume they were sitting down when they wrote the reply).

Alternate Reality: "What does your band name mean? Is there a story behind the name "RedLightGo"?"

Adrian: "RedLightGo basically because most of our parents do not approve of us joining a band. red light means stop but we still go."

AR: "How long has the band been around? How did you guys got together?"

Adrian: "The name was coined around june of 2009 but the band had some additions and change of members around november of 2009 so almost a year."

AR: "Did you plan on playing your currently genre or did it just evolved after a few gigs? Why choose power pop? I mean, there are just a few groups I came to watch which dove into this genre."

Adrian: "We started playing punk pop at first but after a few gigs the members decided to play power pop. It was new and we liked it so yeah.."

AR: "What group or individuals influence the way you play or make songs? The impact it did to your current sound."

Adrian: "Honestly, we didn't set any influence. The way we play songs just came up during our first consecutive jam sessions. Maybe the "kulitan moments" up to now has always been the reason behind."

AR: "Your rendition of Donna Cruz' "Kapag Tumibok ang Puso" is quite catchy. I was already into music when that song topped the Pinoy music charts. You guys don't look that old, but how did you get to know the song? Is there a reason why you chose that particular song? Unrequitted love perhaps?"

Adrian: "The band's vocalist used to sing that song during our "inuman sessions" at our bassist's place. the rest of the members thought of reviving the song using a different sound. after a number of jam sessions, many ideas came up, each member improvised their sound using their respective instruments."

AR: "The topics of your songs are relatively serious matters, but yet you manage to make it a bit upbeat and positive (did I hear you guys right or was I just punch drunk back then). Is this your approach in making music?"

Adrian: "We chose to deliver it that way. Ironically, maybe because we want the listeners to get the real meaning of our songs in a catchy way, that they would also sing along with the band."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

After much fan fare, hype and push from peers and the internet...I gave in and watched the 2 "seasons" of 'The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya' (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)

The story revolves around the friendship between the eccentric and pushy Haruhi and the logical and kind Kyon. When they both got into the same high school, Kyon was the only person who was able to talk and keep up with Haruhi's quirkiness. Naturally, the two became close as Kyon is pulled in various troubles instigated by Haruhi.

Haruhi then forms a club, on Kyon's suggestion, to find the interesting characters Haruhi deems as worthy of her attention. She then manages to get Nagato (the cosmic sentient computer), Asahina (the time traveller) and Koizumi (the esper). Haruhi aims to investigate strange events with the club she formed, but unbeknownst to her, the very people she recruited for that purpose are the very people she wants to investigate.

As the series progressed, a lot of strange events happen around the two. Together with their fellow club members, they investigate all leads and information, no matter how trivial they are. But from all the investigation, it seems that Haruhi is the cause of all these strange events. As it turns out, Haruhi has the power of a god to create reality. And those strange events are caused by Haruhi's foul mood or frustrations or just careless wishful thinking. After all that fanfare, I was disappointed in the series. But because of the character design and quality of animation, I continued to watch at a more leisurely pace. The story fails to keep me interested. But you have to praise the skill of the writer or the director, for making an original pacing of the story, not skipping the chronological order but scattering the pace of the episodes. It is paced in such a way that you remember the other events even if it happened a few episodes or season back.

The series capitalizes on various exaggerated comical non-sense pulled from older animes. Although funny, there are a lot of down time in the episodes. What ticked me off is the time-loop story arc (the never ending summer) where there was 5 or more episodes that shows the same story and turn of events, with a slight change in scripting and costume at times. I think 3 repeating episodes should have been enough to get the point across but doing it with 5 turned me off and put me on hiatus with watching the series for at least a week.

As for the reason behind Haruhi's outlook and eccentric behaviour, everyone feels the same once in a while. A feeling that one is leading an insignificant life. This is one of the drawbacks of information overload. It's like wanting to be a part of everything and making a large impact not only in one's life but also in others. As life is short, the period in which a person can find their true self and fulfil their potential is even shorter,and it happens in the part of life where one is ignorant and inexperienced.

I know the cute characters have a hand in this being a success, but the story is not solid enough to support my interest in the series.