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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shin Nozokiya (by Hideo Yamamoto)

No secret is safe from the guys of Nozokiya. For the right price, they will go to any lengths, employing the latest tools and gadgets for spying, to get the low down on the person you want followed. The team consisting of the highly professional Cho, the impulsive hot head Ken, and the trainee who Ken refers to as Smile, witness some weird facts, practices and perversions of the people involved in the case they are handling.

The main protagonist in the series is Ken, who seems to be a very talented voyeur. His skill, investigative deduction and pure gut instinct helps the team unravel the facts they need to finish the job.

The person who seems to act as the conscience of the group is the 17yr old Reika, who joins the guys on occassions. She develops a special bond with Ken after being rescued, with the help of Smile, from the clutches of her lecherous father.

This series by Yamamoto Hideo was serialized in Shogakukan back in 1994 and didn't seem to garner much popularity, even after having a live action drama series and movie based on it. The manga is filled with perversions of human behavior (mostly sexual) infused in a story with dark overtones and sick humor. I usually get gloomy and feel indifferent after reading a volume or two...but the way secrets are revealed or the case unfolds just gets me intrested enough to reach up and grab the next one.

I think the author exposes to the public what perversions that is taking place in society that a select few knows about and kept hidden from the public light. Hell, Ken spends most of his free time getting blowjobs in booths in his favorite joint. I didn't think there were such places in Japan.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The 'Myth of the Human Body' Exhibit

Have you ever wondered about the inner workings of the human body? About your body? Here's a chance for you to unravel those mysteries first hand with the 'Myth of the Human Body' Exhibition.The exhibit showcases cadavers preserved in a process called 'plastination', a preservation technique pioneered by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, which brings out the vivid details of various organs and body parts. You have to marvel at the extent they had to go through for each piece of the exhibit which takes up to a year to make. And the with the process used, the specimen is said to be able to last for at least a hundred years.

The theme of the exhibit revolves around the premise of Greek mythological figures representing various major systems of the human body (Like Zeus for the brain and nervous system, Eros for the reproductive system, Hercules for the muscular and skeletal and so on).
The exhibit is a very good teaching tool to better understand the inner workings of the human body. And there are people from the medical profession that serve as your group guide as you go along the exhibit. You can catch these wonderful specimen until April 17, 2011 but there are talks to make the event run until December.

For now, you can see all 300 specimen at the NeoBabylon Building, No. 9 Bayani Road, AFPOVAI, Taguig City. Entrance costs P350 for adults (children below 3 yrs old gets in for free, although they might get scared at the cadavers staring back at them)