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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ichi...Ni...San...Rock!!!! (J-music event at Autonomy)

Last night (thats Dec.27,2011), I had no plans to go out...except for a night with 'Special Ops', when I suddenly got a call from Autonomy Bar owner, Goody Saises. He and another friend from a former J-rock band dragged me into meeting up at his bar, and its a good thing I let them.

I was surprised to see an intimate J-rock/J-pop session away from their known bastions in Katipunan and away from the uncomfortable, crowded Anime/Comic/Cosplay Expos. You really get to enjoy the music, singing and dancing along, in a bar/restaurant setup, partying along with other musicians with the same love for J-music. Its like having your very own J-music 'Rock Band' event with a group of friends.

The night was filled with, not only Anime themes, but also leading contemporary pop and rock acts in Japan. Later in the evening, it got more 'trippier' with the addition of samplers and synths which really gave the sound thickness and volume.
And at the end of the evening, there was a free jam which I was able to join. Ikuso Iwa's groove rock based rendition of Super Junior's 'Sorry' got me tappin' and head bangin' . Liquor enraged covers always sound sweeter than the original :-)

Bands were lined up by 'Gift of Music', a production group that holds benefit gigs and donates the proceeds of their band events to charitable institutions. The production is the brain child of the siblings Jin and Jovelle (who, interestingly, runs 'The BooBoo Shop' ). That night, the benefit was for the 'Pangarap Shelter for Boys' in Taft Ave., Manila.

Although the production group is already 3 yrs going, their recent venture into J-music was after they took part in some Anime/Cosplay Expo Event.

I was looking for these kinds of events years before, and I do hope that this series flourish and succeed, as J-music and K-music becomes more accessible, along with a good cause to boot.

Monday, November 21, 2011

You're Beautiful (Minamishineyo v.s. Ikemen Desu Ne)

I have been watching the Korean drama "You're Beautiful" (or Minamishineyo) again and again for some time now. And with the recently concluded "Ikemen Desu Ne", which is the Japanese remake of that popular Korean title, I got to par them side by side.

Primarily the story is about a nun whose identical twin brother got the chance to enter into a very famous boy band. Unfortunately, the brother got into an accident and the boy's manager desperately seeks out the twin sister and get her to pretend in place of her brother for a while. A common plot material in the story is the lengths the sister has to go through to hide the fact that she's a girl. And if found out, it would be the end of her brother's career. Her relationships within the group also develop as her pure and naive nature made her endearing to all, ultimately becoming quite a mess to all the people around her. The story is both funny and heart warming, which is why it is a favorite of mine.

A premise present in both versions of the drama is the name of the fictional band (A.N. Jell), which is said to be very popular in East Asia. And the way the twins are named are derived from the main phrase 'Beautiful' in their native language (,ie "Beautiful Boy": Mio (Jap.) Mi Nam (Korean)), although the Japanese uses a play on Kanji pronounciations to get the name.

Although the Japanese version remain faithful to major climaxes seen in the Korean drama, some of the circumstances that lead to it are sometimes changed. They stay true to the plot and the various climatic or pivotal scenes within it, but sometimes injects a little something here and there to make the storyline more Japanese.

The timeline in the Japanese version is compacted to the essential scenes... so missing a bit may lead you to be lost in the moment. Which is good for me since I like it like that. I hate loooong series...I mean, get to the point dude, my attention is wandering off because they were focusing on the crying lead actress for an extra 10 minutes.

Production-wise, I vote for the Korean version. You can see that they spent a lot of time, effort and money to get the scene just right, a play on focus and space. The Japanese version left me a bit claustrophobic in some scenes or something is just not as grand as it should be. I do like the cameos in the Japanese version, since I only know Japanese actors and artists.

In terms of looks, its a deadlock. I made a quick survey with my wife and her cousins, they bring up a lot of intresting points on who's the better looking bunch. With my quick survey I concluded that the younger audience think that the Japanese actors were better looking. Aside for having the looks, being young, energetic and being emo are the qualities that they seem to look for in a boy band. Mature audiences prefer the majesty, grace and adult charm the Korean actors project.

As for the main protagonist, we compared their transformations from girl to boy, and vice-versa. With Park Shin-hye, her transformation was very obvious, even in boy mode, you can tell she's a girl. But her girl mode was gorgeous. Miori Takimoto, on the other hand, sets herself up as a convincing boy, but her transformation to girl mode could use a more styling up...her look is too plain. Nevertheless, both actresses did a very good job on their potrayal.

The plot and story of this series appeals to a wide range of people. And I won't be surprised that if in the near future, a Filipino version will hit the small they did with other foreign telenovelas and such.

Friday, October 14, 2011

'The Stomp' at Greenbelt 3

After our anniversary dinner, a walk along Greenbelt 3 gave us a chance to experience the infectious grooves and moves of the internationally acclaimed cast of 'The Stomp'. They also had the world renowned hip hop dance group 'Philippine All Stars' as a front act for the night's event.

For those who don't know, 'The Stomp' is a non-traditional Broadway show that uses different choreography and percussive instrument made of everyday tools to bring about a dazzling show of dance, comedy and some cool, world music inspired, grooves.

I first saw this group a few years ago in a TV special, which I don't remember. I was amazed on how this group can dance while their steps alone can make the beats in which they dance to. It was a cool event to watch. And seeing the group perform last night (Oct.14,2011) at Greenbelt 3 not only reminded me of that point in time, but also let my son see what I was amazed with when I was his age.

Too bad we don't have the time and money to see the actual show...event the P700 slot. But at least I get to see an intimate performance of the group.

Some Stomp Videos from last night's performance

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TV Program Turned Bass Guitar Clinic

Last night's 'TUGTUGAN' on MYX (Oct.11,2011) turned from a live performance show to a bass guitar clinic as the host, Raymund Marasigan interviews one of my heroes, Razorback bassist Louie Talan.

The breakdown of the song 'Payaso' became a lesson into the finer points and hooks on playing bass. I have to say, some of the least noticeable and technical movements, like bends and pull outs, can create a huge different in the texture of a song.

This certain portion of the show reminds me of the videos I watched before on bass playing.

I hope someday we have a program like this in the future. Even if its only a few segments within the show as seen last night.

But this cannot take the place of an instrument clinic at much of the dynamics of the techniques and theories that goes on are due to the interaction of the guest, the host and the audience.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vocaloid Live Concert at Tokyo

I was locked up in my house last weekend, mesmerized with the thing I consider the ultimate in alternative reality. I am talking about the 2011(or was it 2010) live performance of Vocaloid Miku Hatsune at Tokyo.

For those, like me, who always heard of Miku Hatsune but never traced who she really is, and here she came from, she is now the top virtual idol from the vocal synthesizer program of Yamaha called 'Vocaloid'.

Derived from the term 'Vocal' and 'Andoid', it is a program that enables composers to make vocal tracks by typing in the lyrics, then changing the pitch. Although the syllabication of the words are not perfect, and the change in tone makes it sound like Auto-Tune, Yamaha packaged a software that is unique and easy to use for hobbyists.

Now, the live concert was not done by voice actresses, or cosplayer lip syncing to a preset program. Its a live band, with a virtual projection, much like a hologram, as a vocalist. The experience was mind blowing. Miku is projected into a translucent film which appears like a hologram, and you can still see the band in the background.

Its a step up on what the virtual band 'Gorillaz' did, and a right push towards well known virtual idols and divas like 'Simone' or Macross Plus' 'Sharon Apple'.

This concert has already played since 2009 and have played in the U.S.

And for you lucky guys at Singapore, a scheduled concert on November 11.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Kitchen Musical

Giving my DVD's a rest last weekend, I was able to catch something quite interesting and unique at Studio 23, with a name that reminds me of that teeny bopper musical specials from Disney that my nieces were crazy about.

The series is called 'The Kitchen Musical'.

At first I was just intrigued by the title, but as commercial features about the series go on, I
became more than interested...I was anticipating it.

Not knowing the schedule of the series, I was lucky enough to catch the 'Behind the Scenes' special and initial telecast last night at ABS-CBN 2 while I was bored and surfed all the channels on our TV. At first it seemed like a local/international production (seeing Philippine talents Karylle and Christian Bautista), but it turns out to be a production in Singapore with a multi-national cast of veteran and up-and-coming stage actors and talent.

Along with the fast-paced story-telling rounded with musical numbers as climax of a turning point or dramatic focus of the plot, are eye-catching visuals and on-screen gimbles reminiscent of the 'CSI' and 'House' of old. With mouth watering recipes to boot (which are also featured at the end of the episode.).

I hope to catch the other episodes real soon as the telecast is turned over to Studio 23 starting October 8, 2011.

And I'll have to remember to have some snacks on standby as the last one left me hungry... for food and more of the series.

(with screen captures from YouTube and the official website)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rocumentary: Pearl Jam Twenty

Another something something to look forward to this coming October.

Filmmaker and music journalist Cameron Crowe unveils his latest film "Pearl Jam Twenty" at the 2011 Toronto International Film Fest, which celebrates the past 20 years Pearl Jam has been together as a solid rockin band.

It boasts of a select scenes from at least 20+ hours of video he shot with the band, along with some never before seen footage and interviews as Cameron chronicles the formation and the story of Pearl Jam.

Along with the release of the film, there is a book that was said to be released last Sept.13,2011, a "Pearl Jam Twenty" album, and a tour to support the release. What I'm looking out for is the worldwide DVD release which is slated on October 25,2011.

"Pearl Jam Twenty" is a Vinyl Films Production, in association with MonkeyWrench and Tremolo Productions.

(I was laughing at the start of the clip, where the interviewer was like struggling with the words and the camera focusing on Vedder for a long period.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Robo Tandang"

My son and I made a short clip inspired by the Cartoon Network series "Robot Chicken", we call it "Robo Tandang" (robo rooster).

This goes to show that this happens when everyone is bored, you can't play outside because of the typhoon, and the dvd player is not working.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Real Robot Series: Mobility and Maneuverability

I have been a fan of robot movies and robot series since my early childhood. And my interest grew even more with the rise of the 'real robot' or 'mecha' genre during my highschool days. 'Real Robot' mechas are within the space of reality, taking into account existing and practical theoretical technology, with a amped up twist.

The pioneer which led this is new era the Gundam franchise. And with this special blog series, I intend to study the 'real' in the 'real robots' series.

Case 1: Mobility and Maneuverability

Mechs come in a variety of form and shapes. Usually borrowing from the designs of nature to tackle issues of mobility, agility and practical construction.

Way back there were MECHAS, mechanized units shaped like lizards, tigers, spiders, etc. This was popularized with Zoids and Multi-MAC back in the late 80's and early 90's. Gundam goes further by embracing the humanoid form from the 'giant robot' series.

You might wonder; "why take the humanoid form as a weapons platform?".

For this case I point out the advantage of propulsion, agility and maneuverability.

Current weapon platforms are based on the same chasis: the axle for land based platforms, the wing for air platforms, and the propeller for water based platforms. These same chasis are also the basis for their propulsion. The humanoid shape, like any other living beings, can use its own body as a means of propulsion, among other things. The appendages are also used for various actions; for utility, movement, etc., while other weapons platform would require a seperate unit, powersource and operator to accomplish the same job.

Vehicular weapon platforms needs a certain space, be limited to a certain speed, to allow then to turn, This aspect of maneuverability is sometimes referred to as 'turning radius' or 'turning speed'. Too much or too little of both can spell disaster, causing the vehicle to stall or topple over. With a humanoid form, maneuverability is aided with the 4 appendages (2arms, 2 legs) and the torso. These parts control or play with weight and momentum to make a body turn on a spot, or turn while it is being hurled into another direction. Its like falling down in a freefall and you turn, just by twisting your hips and throwing the weight of your upper body, you have just changed your orientation without disturbing the direction of your momentum.

The humanoid mecha will combine the agility and the dexterity of the human body with the strength and power of a machine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wicked Night at Araneta with KORN!!!!

At long last, the heroes of Nu Metal showed that they still have what it takes with their live concert last night (Aug.10, 2011) at Araneta Center. Every metal head (and posers, hahaha ang dami nila) at the event were headbanging to their heart's content, screaming out as they sang along with Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis.

Being 'out of the loop' in Nu Metal for a while, I thought I was not going to recognize the songs that the planned to play. To my delight, and much of the others, they opened the night with 'Blind', which got almost everyone in the bleachers to jump and smash into each other, oblivious to the danger of falling the 20+ meters down. Then played their other earlier hits like "Freak on a Leash", "Got the Life", Thoughtless", "Here to Stay", "Falling Away From Me"and "Shoots and Ladders", among others. With the number of songs and medleys they performed, the night was a very tiring but fun event.

After the concert, I did go and look for the new stuff that I heard for the first time at the concert but loved it. I later found out that song was entitled "Twisted Transistor". If my group were in the lower level, we could have slammed until our bodies can't slam no more.

But the night did not go without faults. For one, the sound mix for Slapshock was bad. It sounded like a radio playing their song with a towel covered over it. Even when it was Korn's turn to rock, all we heard were muffled bass sounds lacking in gain and crunch. Maybe its partly due to the fact that, with the size of the venue, we were located at the uppermost bleachers, which is the spot that I could afford. High ticket prices also led to the empty spaces at the lower boxes and reserved area, but our area in the General Admission was filled to the brim.

The concert was not the only entertainment that night. The usual fare of rock fanatics and bollocks livened up the place even before event started. While Araneta employees were busy selling pizzas, hotdog sandwiches and overpriced sodas, a lot of chants, heckles and cat calls were going about.

There were sports fans shouting "GINEBRA!! GINEBRA!!" (a famous basketball team in the PBA), and "DEFENSE!!! DEFENSE!!", like I was in a basketball game than a concert.

Then there were threats directed at the security group; "DI MO KAILANGAN MASAKTAN PARA SA P350 LANG" ("you don't have to get hurt for 350 pesos" which I think was their salary. Usually in the Philippines, concert goers at the upper levels rush the fences to get better seats). I was laughing at all of them.

And a hearty "Word Up" to the DJ who performed and the Lightintg Director, who we referred to as Mr. Lighting Guy, for all his slammin' moves while manning the boards.

Hell to the Yeah, the night was a real doozy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

I'm not much of a Captain America fan, to tell the truth, I was only forced to watch this because my son wanted to.

But I must say that the film was well done and good, with a solid plot, direction and development. Well, there is a solid story behind it all to begin with. Its just something to give a background story for the upcoming Avengers movie. Still, they did a bang up job.

As a fan of the Marvel Universe, I do know a lot about Captain America to let me follow the story as it goes, explaining to my son additional bits and pieces why some events came to be, or how it was on the comics.

The thing I admire about the movie is that it follows the story of Steve Rogers according to Marvel, without much jazzing it up to fit the modern times. The development of his costume, from the classic WWII era uniform and shield, to the more modern conception (which is cooler than the blue and white scale armor in the comics) was nicely woven into the story. And the infusion of the idea that Capt. America is not just a fanatical, flag-waving, right-wing something, but just a good and honest person that wants to do the right thing.

The teasers after the ending credits was a really built up the anticipation for the coming Avengers movie.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sucker Punch

I didn't know anything about this movie. I only got to know about it when my buddy and I went out to buy some DVDs, and there was this intense fight scene being shown on a big ass LED TV in the shop. I was like, staring, ogling, just plain hypnotized by the fight sequence and the pretty girls that were lashing it out with hordes of robot gunners.That was my introduction into Sucker Punch, the 2011 action-fantasy movie by Zack Snyder and Steve Shibuya.

Its the story of a girl, referred in the movie as 'Babydoll', trying to escape from the asylum , after a bunch of horrible events perpetrated by her stepfather, who was also the one who interred her in the institution. Unbeknownst to her, her stepfather made a deal on the inside that would silence her if further investigation is held about the before mentioned horrible event.

Seems like a simple plot, and it is really, but the twist to the storytelling is that Babydoll moves in and out of her fantasies to help her cope with the events that are unfolding. These fantasies are also metaphors for the missions or tasks Babydoll and her friends had to got through to accomplish their goal of escaping.

Within these fantasies is where the intense fighting sequences takes place. You'll see them face off with enemies and scenarios which is made with an eclectic mix of World War 1 , Medieval Japan, Knights and Orcs, Mecha and Zombie soldiers. All inter layered seamlessly, amidst all that modern firepower, intense melee-type fight scenes, hand to hand combat, and flying around like kungfu masters. Which, by the way, are sooooo awesome!! I never stared in awe at action sequences like this since the first Matrix film.

Its like a fanboy's (or otaku's) fantasy movie where petite-katana-wielding-double-pistol-waving-school girl like uniform wearing vixen faces off not in a girly manner but in a battle that rivals sequences from anime's like 'Basilisk', 'Gundam' and 'Fists of the North Star'.

For me, I could get enough of all the fight sequence, but the story is too depressing. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Babydoll, for all the things she had gone through and will be going through.

But unfortunately, that's all there is to it. A story which could be told differently, or shorter, spiced up with tons of effects and fight scenes. I alone enjoyed parts of the movie while the people I saw it with was lost and appalled with the movie, trying to make sense of it all.

At the end of the movie, my son suddenly cried out, 'What the hell was that? its like an in-flight movie for crazy people....'

I had to pop in a DVD of Disney's 'Cars' just to calm him down.

(my son was surprised to see High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens in a revealing outfit, blasting caps and fighting with axes. I told him, they all had to grow up some time...)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

I watched the latest installment of the Transformers movie franchise last month, entitled "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon". And according to the tallies after, it was one of the highest grossing films opening that time.

But I must say, the character development and the dialogues are a bit thin, leaving me bewildered for at least a month. They do have a solid main plot, with the conspiracies and story continuity, giant robot battles spiced up with intense special effects, but the way the characters are shown makes one feel indifferent after leaving the cinema.

First of all, the script seems to be a dive into anger, sarcasm and the art of being assholes. Shia's character seems to me like a take on Ben Stiller with a pinch of Woody Allen, only more pissed off. So does his parents, co-workers and others. Its like being all cooped up with all this anger and nothing to vent it on.

The relationship between Optimus and Sentinel Prime is conveyed in a weak manner that its like two guys raising each others to speak, and it was weird. The character of Sentinel Prime is also transparent that you know instantly from the start that there is something wrong with him, which made the twist past the middle of the movie not that surprising.

Like I said to my wife there and then, this movie is really for kids, that don't look that much into the story or character development, but just wants to see some big robots kick each other.

(transformers poster from wikipedia)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Japan Foundation's "EigaSai 2011"

Japan Foundation, in lieu of this year's Philippine-Japan Friendship month, recently concluded their successful first leg of "Eaiga Sai 2011". Eiga Sai is a film festival which showcases the best in modern Japanese films to the masses for free. The next showcase will be held Davao on July 22 and then travel to Cebu on Aug.2. The Last leg will be held at the UP Film Institute on Aug17 to 20.

With today's youth and masses gobbling up anything Japanese, and with the rise of East-Asian dramas, the venue of the first leg (Shangrila Plaza, Mandaluyong) was less than capable to accommodate the hordes of movie and drama lovers to get a taste of modern Japanese movies on the big screen. Unfortunately, I was not able to get in...again. Lining up since 10am last Sunday only to be told that the venue won't be able to accommodate us people at the back of the 'snake' (or hairpin curve mountain, depending on your favorite anime reference), and that was by 7pm.

Not such a big loss, since I can still enjoy Japanese dramas and movies at the comfort of my own home. I just wanted to experience seeing it on the big screen like an actual movie. Like in the first Eiga Sai at Megamall where I fell in love with Rena Tanaka's character in 'Ganbatte Ikimasshoi'. Enjoying the selection along with fellow J-drama enthusiasts who started using dramas and movies as tools to train ourselves in Nihongo.

This year's major opus is the multi-awarded 'Okuribito'. If you can only attend one filming, make sure to catch this very good movie.

I only hope to attend next year's...

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Nihon Chinbotsu" A movie on Japanese Doomsday

"Nihon Chinbotsu" or "The Sinking of Japan" (or know by its other name 'Japan Sinks') is a 2006 remake of a screenplay based from the 1973 book by Sakyo Komatsu.

The film is about the geological catastrophe that will culminate in the nation of Japan to be split up and sink in the ocean. As the imminent disaster progresses, eathquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions occur throughout Japan making it hard for the goverment and the rescue workers to evacuate and save the people.

The main contributing factor in the upcoming disaster is the subduction of the tectonic plate Japan sits in, which in turn pulls the country under with it.

Along for the ride are people from different walks of the social, scientific and political backgrounds trying to get through this ordeal. The story also revolves around the effects on the lives of various key characters within the movie. The passionate geologist Yusuke Tadokoro, his ex-wife, Saori Takamori, who is a trusted colleague of the Prime Minister and Head manager of the crisis team. Submariner Tetsuo Onodera, Hyper Rescue crew Reiko Abe and the little girl they saved from the previous earthquake, Misaki.

Tadakoro devices an ingenious plan to save Japan by tearing the tectonic plate that carries it. The mission was a success due to the sacrifice of Onodera and his friend, Tatsuya. And Takamori was able to announce to the refugees to return and rebuild their nation from a temporary government headquarters on the amphibious carrier 'Shimokita'.

The movie seems like a 'doomsday what if' documentary than a film. The beginning of the film is like a National Geographic segment where they place the events that would indicate and justify the catastrophe that is about to take place.

As the first quarter of the film lacks character or drama, the sudden introduction into the lives of the character feels like being pulled out of a hypnotic trance. You're suddenly changed from a documentary-like mode of reception to a mode where you try to take in the emotion and relations of the characters in play, riding on cliches and stereotypes to make the cast attach themselves to the audience in a very short time, attempting to make a greater impact as the characters are killed off.

And since the screenplay is based on 70's Japanese racial and political outlook, it's take that Japan will be abandoned and sold out by its 'allies' during such a crisis can't all be that true. I think the screen writer underestimates the power of public opinion overseas. This part of the movie only seems to trigger latent fear and in turn, will become racial anger towards others. Well, just look at the global response at the Tohoku Earthquake.

Its not that good of a movie, but it does give you a perspective into 70's political rhetoric, paranoia and opinions.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Korn Live in Manila

At long last, the monsters of Nu Metal are coming to the land of carabaos, traffic and people opposed to family planning.

It's KORN!!!!!!! Get out and punch someone...HELL-TO THE FUCKIN'-YEAHH!!!!

I may not know their recent new releases, but hell, it'll be the same trance-like voice of Jonathan Davis with the adventurous tones of Munky Shaffer along with the low down groove-pounding bass of Fieldy Arvizu. I'm not quite familiar with Ray Luzier, from Army of Anyone, but I bet he does spill out some gut-punching beats. I hope they play their songs from the classical Nu-Metal/ Dirge era.

And I have to start saving up for the tickets.

Ohhh, this is gonna be a doozy... :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

K-On the Movie Coming Out On December,2011

Seeing a link from another blog, I was surprised to find out that TBS will be coming out with a K-On Movie this December 3.

K-On fans who hunger for more even after the second season will get another shot with this movie (although I am yet to finish watching the second season).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sendero Puts the Metal in Rap-Metal

There are a lot of rap-metal acts out there but Sendero sets itself from the rest by upping the dosage of metal riffs and progressions to their songs. Another factor which makes their 'metal' aspect unique is that it uses the harmonies and arrangements of 90's Pinoy Metal Alternative, mixed with other musical styles like blues, jazz and rock.

The eccentric sound of Sendero is from the combined talents of Clint Aquino, with his vocal projection and guitar playing which seems like a mix of 'Tom Morello's experimental licks and 'Munky Shaffer's adventurous attitude, Ian Mendoza, who provides the bass with playful mix of funk and metal reminiscent of 'Alex Katunich' from Incubus, and Nawaf Aldebasi, whose skills on the drums punches through the thin line that seperates the deep, groove based beats of rap with the power and aggression of metal.

Based in Manila, Philippines, the group first got together back in 2005 with Clint and Ian. Nawaf later came to replace the former drummer who went abroad. Their name came in a drinking session at Ian's house, while watching a live performance video of their favorite band, Rage Against the Machine. While watching 'Bombtrack' they saw the phrase 'Sendero Luminoso' (the name of a Maoist insurgent guerrilla organization in Peru) from which they shortened and used to replace their former name.

Sendero's songs doesn't hide behind hidden meanings or fancy alliterations or homonyms. What you get is the message, direct meaning, up front. This maybe partly due to their songwriting style which is more spontaneous and direct, wherein all members pull in their thoughts and ideas. You can listen to their sample tracks on their Facebook or Myspace page, but I do recommend you see them live to get the full energy of their songs.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Damn Me for Missing Anthrax and Death Angel

I can't f*%#ing believe it..I promised myself I would attend this year's Pulp Summer Slam since I heard that Anthrax and Death Angel would be there. I thought "finally, one of my metal heroes would be here and I won't be having a problem of where to get money for tickets... (I had that kind of problem back in highschool and in college, I had to skip meals just to save up my allowance for tickets).

Then I saw on facebook that the event is already over...and I was in the office that time, doing some overtime.

I promise (again) next time will be different...


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Headstock Bar Soon to Close

Another bastion for rock bands in the Metro will soon dim their lights for the last time as Headstock bar, that glass encased stage at the corner of Araneta and Quezon avenue, will have its final run this week. In a short time, that place has become a popular venue for underground and indie productions. The final show will be on Saturday (April 16,2011) along with power pop band RedLightGo.

I heard in disbelief when it was announced onstage that it would be the final week for the bar, just I was thinking that this was a place I could get comfortable with. Aside from the open ambiance, the friendly people, I always loved how my bass sounds in that place. Although I have a passive bass, the sound always comes out the way I want it.

Straight from the mouth of the 'Dredded Sound Engineer' Sir Ferdie, he plans to take the 'Club Dredd' Spirit' on the road to different bars in the Metro.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mr. Brain

I recently finished the J-drama 'Mr.Brain' and I must say, it held my intrest in the series so much that I wanted to watch continuously until the end.

Takuya Kimura stars as Ryusuke Tsukumo a genius neuro scientist whose quick wit, gut instinct and scientific deduction helps the police in capturing and solving criminal cases.

But it wasn't always like that. In the start of the series, he is sort like a clueless airhead but with a good heart and a good judge of character. After a freak accident, his brain was partially damaged making both sides of his brain work together to compensate for the damaged areas. The flurry of brain activity made it like a sponge and he was able to study well finishing Neuroscience. He was then assigned to the newly formed Brain Sciences Division of the Institute of Police Science, a braintrust that provides the police with data regarding cases while developing new approaches in Forensic Science.

Aside from an intresting plot, the story and character development, along with gripping developments within the way cases are solved. There's not that much plot twists that I would expect from a J-drama, though. Its like a cross between CSI, House, Team Dragon Iryu and Tantei Gakuen Q with Takuya Kimura adding his own twist into the character.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lucky Star

Being not able to watch a complete anime series for a long time, my officemate let me copy his sister's copy of a series called 'Lucky Star'. Not knowing anything about the series, I decided to give it a try.

The series is about a group of young girls from Saitama showing events from their everyday life as they go through highschool. Along with special occurances in their school life, are ordinary and mundane scenarios that are a bit perked up with one-liners or situational punch lines. There are also some situations whose logic is questioned through the naive point of view of an innocent, truthful child.

At the end of each episode is a short skit called 'Lucky Channel', which is made to appear like a talk show starring the idol Akira and her assistant Minoru. Although Akira is a typical Moe idol, she acts all sarcastic and mean around Minoru.

The primary characters almost represent the most common moe stereotypes with a few sprinkles of surprises up their sleeves. There's the athletic Konata Izumi, who is ,in every sense, an otaku mainly because of her father's influence. Then there's the polar opposite paternal twins Kagami and Tsukasa Hiiragi. Kagami is responsible, smart, straight-forward and a realist while her sister, Tsukasa, is mostly like an airhead, emotional and easily drawn in to Konata's antics. Then there's the well endowed Miyuki Takara which is like a walking depository of trivia and knowledge who is also very mild-mannered, kind and polite.

The first few episodes were very was very painful to watch, I basically watch them to help me fall to sleep. Then I found out that this anime is primarily based on a comic strip. I thought," So that's why there's no plot or story development...its essentially a four panel comic strip being extended to a 30-min anime". And using one voice actor for all the other extras, male or female, is so annoying...there's no variety, mostly ending up sounding like a tranny trying to sound like a girl or a boy.

But a redeeming factor is the opening theme "Motteke, Seira- Fuku", sung by the voice actors from the series. It became an instant favorite of mine the moment I started watching episode 1 because of its upbeat tempo and funky basslines. There is no ending theme, it usually ends with the girls in a karaoke room singing different songs and anime themes.

The series picks up around the 5th or 6th episode showing more character and story development, with more fast paced comedy which is more entertaining than the previous ones. Theres also a lot of reference to other anime series, showing over the edge voice overs and action. I really loved episode 6 where they parodied Initial D. And later episodes shows live action songs by the voice actors at the end, mostly by Minoru Shiraishi, which are very funny and leaves you wanting for more.

Cute character designs, funny subplots and running gags will make this anime series worth a leisurely pace.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Evening Tea Time at Tamashii Con 2011

Last Saturday (March 19, 2011), I was able to attend 'Tamashii Con 2011" at Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

(aikido demonstration)

This fundraising event was organized by Anime Alliance, Philippines, DLSU-NKK and DLSU-LC with the support of cosplayers and j-culture enthusiasts around the metro in response to the disaster that befell Japan last March 11. The event was able to raise 20,000 pesos (around 37,000 yen) which the Philippine Red Cross shall turn over to the Japan Red Cross.

(the yukata auctioned off for P1,500...model not included)

There were a lot of stalls selling magazines, anime, manga, toys, cosplay gear and accessories along with this 'golfish scooping'-like stand. Activities include a Cosplay competition, a martial arts demo and performances by some J-pop/ J-rock cover bands.

(the 'golfish scooping' like stall. My son wanted to take a shot because he saw it on 'Kekkon Dekinai Otoko')

In here I finally got to watch the K-On tribute/cosplay band called "Evening Tea Time". Being a K-On fan, I responded immediately to the invitation by ETT guitarist, Justin.

(Evening Tea Time on stage)

Although I was a bit disappointed with the turn out of the performance, due largely to the lack of audience participation and sound mixing. I did got a kick out of the dancing 'Zaido' looking cosplayer while ETT was playing the Tagalog version of Laser Squadron MaskMan's theme. And I was astounded on how the vocalist, Tessa, project the voice and mannerisms of K-On's Yui Hirasawa.

(cosplayers lining up the registration, while cosplay fans take a quick snap of the contestants)

But sadly, I needed to leave immediately. Although I was able to hang out with the guys from ETT for a while, I never got the chance to see the Cosplay event.

And I didn't get to take pictures of those cute and 'asteeg' cosplayers... I am still a bit shy of asking them to take their pictures.

ETT's Photo Corner