Monday, June 25, 2007

Last Exile

Claus Valca is a mere vanship pilot from the Vanship Union(?) who freelances missions(cargo deliveries) to earn money and make ends meet. Together with his good friend Lavie Head who also acts as his navigator, they accidentally stumbled upon a dying pilot from a dangerous mission when they were in the middle of a race. Conveniently, they accepted the dying pilot's request to finish the mission for him and ended up being caught in the middle of a war. (Sounds familiar? think Gundam Seed and Eureka 7). The starting plot of the story is indeed a bit outdated. The fact that Claus is the good-hearted-heroic-naive-type of person doesn't help at all other than making the story more mundane and predictable. However, I've only watched 7 episodes of it, and is yet to see how the anime turns out. One thing is certain though... Although I am not too fond of the typical story plot, it doesn't deter me from liking the anime as a whole. I love the dogfighting and flight scenes they offer. The vanship graphics are spectacular(emphasis added), great flight scene choreographies.

Claus is the typical naive kid who got himself involved in the story plot conveniently. He starts with very good vanship piloting skills matching those of the war aces. However, he still lacks real combat experiences. His naive(and childish) attitude does nothing to make me like him at all.

Lavie is Claus's good friend (I thought they were siblings in the start). She is the typical tomboyish girl-next-door. She acts not only as Claus's navigator in his vanship, but also a close friend who cooks and take care of Claus (That's why I thought they were siblings) at all times. Though she is afraid of dangerous missions and often tried convince Claus to back out from dangerous things, she still attaches herself closely to Claus. I'd think she's more 'real' compared to Claus who would accept deadly mission from a stranger, participate in combats without any experience/training, and pulls off real dangerous stunts as if he already knew he was the hero of the anime and would never die or fail.

Alvis Hamilton. The 'cargo' that Claus was suppose to deliver, which in turn ended up being caught in a one of a lifetime adventure. There might be more secrets to her but not that I am that far yet into the anime to know about it (xD). One thing for certain, she is definitely cute.

Tatiana Wisla, the ace pilot of the Silvana (neutral battleship). She pilots a red vanship which is probably one of the deadliest forces in the skies. Matched only(probably) by the newcomer Claus. She has a quiet and cool/cold character. A girl with an attitude!

Alex Row, the captain of the dreaded battleship Silvana. Has a very cold and quiet character.

What is this? Its the vanship!! The flying vehicle in the world of Lost Exile. Despite its appearance, it is capable of great maneuvers which enticed me to the anime. Perfectly crafted in CG animations, it looks way cooler in the anime than one would appreciate. Before watching the anime, I've always thought the 'thin' end was the 'head', since the cockpit is positioned near there. However, it was actually the other way around (=.=). Probably designed to look like the cars in the older days(of our world), since the anime was also set in such a time period (supposingly).

A good anime (though not one of the best), I am looking forward to seeing though the whole series of it.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tsubasa Chronicle the Movie: The Princess of the Country of Birdcages

The movie was released in Japanese theaters somewhere in August 2005, but I've only watched it just now. Syaoran and friends ended up in the Country of Birdcages. As usual, the evil king of the country got a hold of Sakura's feather and became all-powerful all of a sudden. The King plots to seal the country with a magical (and huge) birdcage forever in eternal darkness. To do so, the King has to utilize the power of the original princess of the country who went hiding in the villages (and was subsequently captured). Syaoran and friends have to rescue the princess and reclaim Sakura's feather...

Ok, honestly, the movie is downright disappointing. I wouldn't say the story is good or bad. However, they could have made it much better if they did not cramp everything into 34 minutes. The story progresses way too fast for anyone to appreciate why, how and what is happening. I would seriously think the filler episodes(i.e. not in the manga) are much better than this. Perhaps it would've been better if they had not made the movie at all and prepare a good one in the near future.

Luckily, xxxHolic the Movie: A Midsummer Night's Dream delivers more than satisfactory results; in fact xxxHolic fans definitely would not want to miss it.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I am recently catching up with xxxHolic although it is not a new anime (anymore). As with most people, subconsciously I had linked this anime with Tsubasa Chronicles. How wrong was I to think so. xxxHolic is a great anime by its own, which offers a completely different setting and theme from all other CLAMP's anime/manga. Perhaps the only similarity is Yuuko's crossover appearance in other anime and manga. xxxHolic is a light-hearted and humorous anime about the mysteries and supernatural events in Japan. The anime is a case by case series, each episode offering (or explaining) a new case of mystery.

The main protagonist here is Watanuki Kimihiro who since birth, is able to see (and was bothered by) what others couldn't: souls and spirits. One fateful day, Watanuki stumbled upon Yuuko's shop accidentally (however, according to Yuuko, it was not an accident but instead hitsuzen (必然) - inevitability) . Yuuko entered into an agreement with Watanuki to grant him a wish - to get rid of his ability to see souls and spirits - with a price; to work part-time in Yuuko's shop until he is able to clear his debt! As a result, Watanuki found himself performing household chores for the lady.

Watanuki Kimihiro - a good soul (but a loser, haha!! xD)

Yuuko is the owner of the shop (that grant wishes), a seemingly powerful and all-knowing witch. In reference to Tsubasa Chronicles, she is known as the Dimensional Witch, but the name was never mentioned even once in xxxHolic (atleast until episode 15- which is where I am now). She is quite the joker especially in front of Watanuki, but could have her serious side when she gets down to business. And a definite alcoholic (thus xxxholic??? xD). I've also noticed that she almost always have different clothes in every episode.

Yuuko is a one-of-a-kind character; one who almost always have different clothes in every episode.

Along with Watanuki is his classmate Doumeki Shizuka. Doumeki is the total opposite character of Watanuki, always keeping his cool and calm, but could be quite a sarcastic person towards Watanuki. He has a passive ability to ward off and exorcise evil spirits, thus making him very compatible with Watanuki and had in fact saved Watanuki a number of times.

Doumeki Shizuka - seems to have deep understanding of Japanese folklores.

We shall not forget Watanuki's love interest as well, Himawari Kunogi. She is a sweet and cheerful girl and is very friendly towards Watanuki and Doumeki. Thus, we will be seeing the three of them hanging out together quite often. However, it does seems like she often brings bad luck to Watanuki (and possibly to other people as well), as mentioned in the earlier episodes by Yuuko.

The cheerful and friendly Himawari that makes Watanuki goes crazy everytime she smiles.

All in all, this is a very nice and interesting anime. Anyone ready for storytelling time? ^^

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

Being oblivious to updates on games, I've only noticed recently that the latest installment of the No.1 flight simulation game is on the XBox 360. I had been an ardent fan of the Ace Combat series since its first release in the Playstation many years ago. Unlocking new crafts and mastering dog-fighting techniques, I've replayed every single one of them at least once. However, I am slightly disappointed this time that Namco announces its latest installment on the Xbox 360. No, I wasn't expecting it to be on the PS3, but hoping (finger crossed) that it will remain on the PS2 (Ah! no cash to get the PS3 yet...). Namco would probably roll in the AC6 into the PS3 later. Lets just hope that I could afford the PS3 that time.

Being on the Xbox 360, it certainly promises photo-realistic graphics with magnificent views. The quality of it alone is reason enough to buy it. Although the story lands on the mundane "unknown enemy attacking homeland" scenario as with all the previous installment, this does not deter it being the greatest flight simulation game ever.

he game introduces 20 licensed jets, inter alia the F-15 E Strike Eagle, the F-22 Raptor, the A-10 Warthog, and Tornado.

In AC5, Namco introduces commanding options to control 3 of your wingman. ACZero gave you a partner to do skirmishes. This latest installment allows for allied support, mobilizing air, ground and naval units to do your bidding.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ikea Detolf and Yuki Nagato + Suzaku gashapon

The main agenda was to get my long awaited Detolf. Before going to the Ikea at Damansara, I was at MidValley. There, I tried my luck on the gashapon machine. One from the Code Geass Lelouch Swing gashapon machine and the other from Hare Hare Swing 2 Gashapon. The Code Geass one offers Lelouch, Lelouch with Geass, Karen, C.C. and Suzaku. All of them looks nice, however... I crossed my fingers, hoping never to get Suzaku. 2 tokens in, tab twisted, 'egg' rolled down. To my disappointment, Suzaku (ah!!) came out.

Hare Hare Swing offers Yuki Nagato in wizard clothes, 2 Mikuru in Bunny suit (one red and another white), Suzumiya Haruhi, Asakura Ryoko, and Koizumi Itsuki (I was surprised it wasn't Kyon). Anyway, despite being unlucky with the Code Geass machine, I got Yuki Nagato here (My favorite!! woohoo!!).

My brother got Lelouch with Geass (envious!!!) and Mikuru in white bunny suit. Whilst cryorazor(why do we sounds like Konata's gang? ... -.-"") got Karen(looks nice) and Mikuru in red bunny suit (amazingly none of us got the same one).Lelouch with Geass (look at his left eye!)!! It looks way too cool. Envious!!

The Hare Hare Swing Gasphapon comes with the SOSBrigade emblem.

Anyway, at Ikea we bought 2 Detolf (one mine, the other cryorazor's). The funny thing is we stood at the car park for atleast half an hour figuring how to fit 2 Detolf into the Hyundai Matrix!! Should've taken a picture of it in the car. I was cramping at the front sit without any place to move around. Amazingly, I survived back to my house (XD).

The Detolf is not particularly huge, but it is certainly long and heavy. Assembly alone would require atleast 2 people.

I thought the space would be larger. But it could only house a Gundam on each compartment. Perhaps retracting the wings could cramp 2 together.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dragon Quest: Dai no Daiboken

I stumbled upon this 16 year old anime in crunchyroll. The first episode was re-released (and subbed) by Frenchies-Subs (13/6/2007). My first reaction was OHMYGOD!! This certainly brings back memories; nostalgic indeed! I couldn't remember when I first read the manga (more or less 10 years ago), it was ran together with the all-time famous Dragon Ball manga. However, I loved this manga many times more than Dragon Ball. It is based on medieval RPG adventure storyline. The graphics(in the manga) were definitely top-notch in spite of the fact that it was created almost 20 years ago. The storyline is the main catch; very very well written with suspense, adventure, mysteries, romance, and some well-fit humor. I would think this is one of the best(if not the best) RPG adventure story(of its kind) ever written. Some of the scenes could even move me to tears, where each character has a well developed story. Seriously, you don't find these (storyline) anymore. Game producers only focuses on technology with graphics and game engines, whilst anime/manga writers go for guys who goes crazy over japanese school lolitas or coolness factor in terms of choreographs and whatnots. Nothing beats old-schools! What is it about?

It is hard for me to write a summary on such a great anime/manga. But here goes: The story is mainly about a young kid named Dai, who (typically) lives in a secluded island where only monsters exists. The monsters were remnants of an archaic evil Demon Lord, Hadlar, who were defeated by a Hero - Avan, 10 years ago. After the defeat of Hadlar, all the monsters were free from evil will, some of them moved into the island and live in peace there. Dai was an orphan who ended up in the island accidentally and was subsequently raised by a kindly monster magician, Brass.

One fateful day, the hero Avan visited the island and took Dai in as his apprentice. Dai meets with Pop, who came alongside Avan as his apprentice and soon became best friends. The story begins when the Demon Lord Hadlar who were resurrected by a more powerful Lord, came to the island and sought to kill Avan. Avan confronted Hadlar in his weakened state. To protect his students, he used a self-sacrifice spell to rid Hadlar but to no avail. As Hadlar proceeded to get rid of his students, Dai, suddenly awakened the hidden power inside of him and fends off Hadlar. In order to seek revenge on Hadlar, thus his journey begins.

It is later learnt that Dai is actually an illegitimate decendant of Dragon Knights, as his father, a true Dragon Knight fell in love with a mortal woman, and thus gave birth to Dai (whose true name is Dino). Dragon Knights are not mortal human. Only one Dragon Knight exists in the world in every era. They were granted immense power from the Gods themselves to keep balance in the world, favoring the mortal humans. However, Dragon Knight Baran, father of Dai, were robbed of his wife and child by a human king. Out of anger, he destroyed the whole kingdom single-handedly and dwelves into the path of evil (Anakin/Darth Vader??).

The symbol of descendant on Dai's forehead. The Dragon Knight Symbol.

The interesting thing about the storyline is how each character progresses and grows. From weak pupils to strong heroes. From enemies to strong brotherhood bonds. From cowardly behavior to that of a true hero. Each character develops slowly as experience guides them through times of trials.

Foe turned friend: Hyunkel - The first apprentice of Avan. Betrayed Avan as he thought Avan was the murderer of his father. Upon knowing the truth, joins Dai in the fight against Lord Vearn.

Dai and Gome.

I truely love this manga. Hopefully, the re-release of it would continue until the end!
(due to the fact that the anime was created a very long time ago, it is hard to grasp screenshots of it. Most of the pictures here is from the manga)

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Friday, June 15, 2007


Claymore is a dark, fantasy anime that sets itself in the medieval world. Humans and monsters known as Yoma co-exists. Yoma feeds on human guts to survive, after which, they can take the form of a human to disguise themselves. No one can distinguish them from a normal human. Thus, a nameless organization created "superhumans" (only females) to deal with these Yoma. They don't have a name, however, due to the extremely big sword they carry around, the humans named them Claymores. Ok, enough with the brief summary. What I think is...

It sounds very fantasy like (or childish one might say), however, this is one show you don't want to recommend to any kids. It has a very dark tone, environment, theme, songs, everything in it (think the movie 300). If you are looking for comedy, relaxing styled anime, this is not for you. However if you can bear with gory and bloody scenes (Yoma eating humans' guts, Claymore chopping off Yoma's head, Claymore turning into Yoma, etc...) and sadistic atmospheres, then it is a great anime that would keep you watching for hours. It guarantees cool fighting scenes with big swords and a mysterious storyline waiting to be uncovered! The story too is definitely well directed/written. All in all, this is a great anime; a must watch!

The main character here is Clare. As you progress through the story, she is not just the typical Claymore, and she intends to investigate into the organization that 'created' her; their seemingly (dark) secrets. During the first episode, I wasn't too interested into girls (not babes) cutting off limbs and slashing heads off monsters (with blood spilling and splashing all over herself). The turning point that makes me want to continue watching is when she 'adopted' a normal kid, Raki in her journey. Their relationship goes from one of strangers to caring 'siblings' (?... they definitely don't looks like they will be lovers in any way!) and how Raki saved her once by supporting her emotionally.

Raki, a normal boy who tagged along during Clare's journey.

After the first few episodes, the story brought us back to the past. The number 1 Claymore named Teressa "of the faint smile". It is then learned why Clare chose to be a Claymore and what was her true objective. I really enjoyed watching Teressa's story. Too bad she had to die horribly.

Teressa of the faint smile. It is sad and pitiful to see how she was killed. (Episode 8)

Claymore vs Claymore (bringing cat-fights to a whole new level!)

Episode 11: The latest episode wasn't so much of a fighting compared to all the previous episodes; a boring one indeed. However, more of the secrets of Claymores and the organization (to a lesser extent) were revealed.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch

A great anime by Sunrise (also GS/GSD). I am really mesmerized by this anime. Hours of marathon watching it (finally finished) yet I am eagerly waiting for the second season (which will be airing soon, hopefully ^^). This is the story about a banished prince of Britannia starting his own rebellion against the Britannia Empire after acquiring a power known as Geass from a girl, C.C. What's really interesting about this anime is of course the storyline, mechas (known as Knightmare Frames), and how things blend together!

The main character here, is of course, Lelouch, once the Prince of Britannia, who had been banished by the King to Japan (which is now dominated by the Empire, renamed to Area 11). He is not the traditional hero (anti-hero) one would expect. His best ability is perhaps his IQ, almost unrealistic to begin with. Since small he loves playing chess, and is very good at it, never losing a single game; And now, turning the battlefield into his own chess table, moves step by step closer to taking down the whole of Britannia who dominates 1/3 of the world. Nonetheless, he is a cunning one, reminds me alot of Kira; no, not the Kira Yamato from GS/GSD. The Kira - Light Yagami from Death Note (!!) who, inter alia, a brilliant thinker, has a very high IQ, good at chess, puts on a social mask, manipulates people, battles to conceal his identity!!

He runs a secret identity known as Zero, who is the founder and leader of the underground terrorist (or "Ally of Justice" as he called himself), The Order of The Black Knights. Amazingly, his small rebellion group which started from members less than 10 people (if I recall correctly) grew into Area 11's (Japan) greatest rebellion force! (And he's still only a high school KID!!)

He has a very special power known as Geass (and hence Code Geass) granted by C.C. a mysterious girl (who loves Pizza!!). This power allows him to manipulate another, literally. "The power of absolute obedience". When activated, a bird shape sigil (as shown in the picture) appears in his left eye.

C.C. loves pizza, especially PizzaHut!! Its amazing that Code Geass features the official PizzaHut.

Of course, one of the things I love about this anime is mechas!! Although their emphasis in Code Geass is not very important (not as much as in GS/GSD), but I still love scenes with mechas. The Lancelot (picture above) is the newest prototype, 7th generation Knightmare Frames, that is still in experimentation by the Britannia. It is piloted by none other than Suzaku, Lelouch's best friend since little.

Suzaku, the pilot of Lancelot. His unrealistic skills with the Knightmare Frames matches the unrealistic IQ of Lelouch (brain vs brawn, eh?).

Lelouch, Zero, Prince of Britannia, Leader of the Order of the Black Knights, member of the Ashford Academy's student council.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam!!!

Finally!! After 9 gruesome hours of cutting, slicing, clipping, pressing and pulling, I've finally finished constructing the legendary ZGMF-X10A from the Bloody Valentine War. sealing and marking took another 2 hours. After all was done, I am feeling pain in my fingers. Nonetheless, the result is certainly satisfying!
More pictures below:

Before construction

Stage 1: Body

Stage 2: Limbs

Stage 3: Armors

Almost ready for action.

Stage 4: Wings, Boosters and armaments!! Ready for action!

Final Touch: Seals and Markings:
And now I can continue my Code Geass!! ^^

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