Friday, May 30, 2014

Meet the Travelling Gundam!! :D

As a gundam fan, and gunpla builder, I've always admired and loved seeing Gundam kits in dioramas or settings that would recreate a particular scene in the anime. However, for the most part, gundams model kits are usually stored on display cabinets and are rarely played with. And as much as I do understand why most model kit builders do that (in fear of breaking the model), I also realize that for awhile most gundam fans eventually get tired of their model kits and sell em off to dispose of them or worse... throw them in the garbage bin. :(

After some thought, I recall of a particular story from the internet where a garden gnome goes off on an adventure of a lifetime, travelling from one place to another instead of being stuck inside a garden lawn.

So I thought, probably some modellers already did this. And upon searching the net, I came up empty handed. And so, I thought it might be fun to try making a gundam version of this, and so I took my most stable and favorite model kit around; the 1/144 Advance Grade Gundam AGE-1 Normal, and decided to go on a vacation with friends with him. To be safe, I reinforced my kit with some super glue on some parts that might fall apart and added some layer of topcoat to ensure the panel lining wouldn't wash out after I splashed it in the water.

And the result? The "Travelling Gundam" was born. :D

For our first trip together, we went to Water Camp in Cavite Philippines. It was a pretty nice swimming resort that served as the perfect starting point for my "Travelling Gundam" project. :D

It was a great way to get the project started. And with the help of my friends, who had with them an awesome waterproof camera, I got me some amazing underwater shots with my Travelling Gundam.

I definitely had fun with this project and I look forward to taking my Travelling Gundam to more adventures soon!! :D

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno/The Legend Ends is coming to the Philippines!!

The much anticipated sequel to the surprise local blockbuster hit; Rurouni Kenshin, is now confirmed to be coming to the Philippines!! As announced on Warner Bros Philippines' Facebook fanpage, the 2 feature film sequels will be coming to the Philippines this year:

The first of the sequels; Rurouni Kenshin - Kyoto Inferno, arrives on local theaters on August 20th. While its follow-up; Rurouni Kenshin - The Legend Ends, arrives almost a month later on September 24th.

To check out their awesomely fan-enticing latest trailer, click here.

To check out their insanely spot-on cast, click here.

Personally, I find the announcement quite surprising to say the least. As a few years ago, the first Rurouni Kenshin film was NOT brought to the Philippines by Warner Bros (who we all expected to do so considering they were the ones who produced the film in the first place), but by Movie Punch (aka Pioneer Films) and by SM Cinemas. I suppose the backlash of their action, seeing how the first Rurouni Kenshin film practically sold out in every SM Cinemas on the day of its release, and the local fan reception of the film, stung them and thus they probably didn't want to make the same mistake with the sequel.

Quite frankly, I'm happy to know that the sequel will find its way to our shores and I cannot wait to watch it on the big screen with friends! :D

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Street Fighter Assassin's Fist = Best live-action Street Fighter adaptation yet!!

I've been a long time fan of Street Fighter, since I first played it on the SNES with Street Fighter II: The World Warrior.

There's simply something magical with Street Fighter II when it first came out. It was the first time in my personal gaming history, for me to see a game where you can actually select the character you will use in-game. Remember this was the time when back in the day, you only control one character and you have little to no choice as to who you will control (ie. Super Mario Bros, you only control Mario if you're player one, etc.)

It may not seem much of a big deal nowadays, but the first time I saw the game's "Player Select" screen, I was blown-away by the sheer number of characters to choose from of 8 unique characters.

Another memorable component of the game was it was the first time I ever played a game wherein I actually fight AGAINST another player sitting next to me. Back then, multiplayer was a co-op affair, with the second player helping you in your game. So actually playing a game where I'm fighting against another person was simply amazing for me. :D

Suffice to say, the game took the gaming world like a storm. And it's insane popularity led Hollywood to make a film version of the series. The campy, weird, but okay-in-a-way, live-action movie in 1994.

In a way, the film sort of "nailed it", with Van Dame doing Guile's famous Flash kick (aka Jack Knife kick), and loved Raul Julia's depiction of M. Bison going all campy with puns galore. :D

But obviously the gamer in me isn't quite satisfied with the movie, compared to Mortal Kombat which fully embraced the game's lore and mythology, Street Fighter the movie was a little bit more "Hollywood-friendly". Guile became the lead character, instead of Ryu and Ken (who were relegated to minor supporting roles in the film), and don't even get me started with that piece of s***; Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li.

F*** you Hollywood. Just F*** you.
Quite frankly, I don't get why can't Hollywood get Street Fighter right. It's like its cool to make a movie about demi-gods, superheroes, aliens and what-not, but it's just not cool to make a film about a bunch of martial artists who can wield near-superhuman abilities and powers. It simply doesn't make any sense to me. I was thinking, if the comicbooks can do it, why can't videogames?

And I think that's what the producers of Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist were thinking as well. And it only took them this proof-of-concept to show to the world how a REAL Street Fighter movie is made:

As a fan, the moment I saw this clip, I was blown away at how this short fan film does a better job at capturing what Street Fighter is than the shitty live-action movies Hollywood has shown to date. Add the fact that guy playing as Ken is pretty spot on (seriously, its as if he was lifted out of the game and into the real world. That's how scarily accurate they got the portrayal). It was AMAZING. 

Little did I know that this was a taste of things to come. And now, after the long wait, the same team who produced Street Fighter: Legacy, is back with Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist. A mini-series that's now available on YouTube which expands on the story of Ryu and Ken's tutelage under Gouken, and their history with their master's rival/brother; Akuma/Gouki.

Here's the entire playlist for your viewing pleasure:

Without spoiling too much, I'd have to say this is THE BEST live-action adaptation of Street Fighter bar none!! They took the mythology and lore of the game and added new twists and filled-in some of the parts that were unexplained in the series, giving a fresh perspective to both new and old fans alike. 

I also loved the fact that they focused the entire mini-series only on Ryu and Ken's tutelage under their master Gouken, as it gives alot of character development between these 2 friends/rivals. Admittedly, it also gives Ryu, which is more or less a blank slate in the game, a more fleshed out story and his interactions with his best buddy Ken are some of the highlights of this series. Because of keeping the focus on just 4 characters, everyone of them feels much more developed and less rushed, making fans appreciate them more. :D

The series is also peppered with tons of fan service and nods to the game that only hardcore fans will get/notice, and is a delight to watch (ie. watch out for the Yoshinori Ono; the producer of Street Fighter, cameo).

That said, I do have abit of critique mostly with the special effects, as I believe they could've done a better job in showing off the "Hadouken" and "Shoryuken". 

One example would be the "Shoryuken", where they could show more "oomph" to the move instead of just making someone fly off. Think off the scene in the "Man of Steel", where they took the simple idea of Superman flying as shown in this scene, and added more weight and oomph to it visually:

Just look at how the ground shakes and a small dust of wind slowly pushes out of Superman's body, showing the amount of power being generated at that moment to prepare him for the leap. And how the flight seemed so powerful with the added "boom" on the ground showing off how much energy was generated during Superman's "take-off" from the ground. It's those simple cues that makes something that looks ridiculous on screen, much more believable and more visually arresting to behold. However, considering this was NOT Hollywood, I can't exactly blame the guys, as they had to work with what they have, and they focused on what mattered most... character and story.

So kudos to the team behind Street Fighter Assassin's Fist!! Seriously you made a fan out of me guys!! Hopefully this is a start of more things to come in the future!! Can't wait to see how the other World Warriors are gonna appear in your cinematic vision of the series. :D

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gundam Unicorn Episode 7 Philippine Screening + GMKC 2014 = My Epic Gundam Birthday!!

May 18th, 2014 marked the day I finally become 31. I don't really FEEL any different, only that I bear some life lessons that shaped my life for the better. :D This comic more or less captures what I feel "getting older"
My feelings about "adulthood"
However, little did I know, that this day would shape up to be THE best birthday celebration I've ever had in my life. :D

As you guys can imagine (if you managed to see most of my blogposts) I'm a HUGE fan of Gundams. As my significant other mentioned, I'm in a "Gundam High" this year. So imagine my delight and excitement, upon Gundam Philippines' announcement that the seventh and final episode of Gundam Unicorn will be shown here on SM North Cinema 10... on MY BIRTHDAY. :D

My face lit up like this upon learning of the awesome news
And thanks to my Gundam Model Kit Competition entry, I got to score 2 tickets for the screening of Gundam Unicorn for me and my significant other. You can read more about it via this blogpost. 

Having the screening of Gundam Unicorn's final episode set on my birthday was pretty much awesome already, however, the awesomeness of my birthday didn't just stop there. One of my good friends; Mr. Kenneth Guevarra of SenZaru Multimedia, gave me an early birthday present...

Thank you so much Kenet!! :D 
He drew a chibi-fied version of me (and my cat Tigger) with a Gundam head (which happens to be the Build Strike Gundam of Gundam Build Fighters) and it looked AMAZING!! :D I was lovin all the little details (like the Sub-Zero shirt), and my love for videogames (3DS in hand). I was more than surprised and thankful upon receiving such an amazing artwork from my friend, and added more to the awesomeness of what will become a Gundam-themed birthday celebration. :D

So on May 18th, me and my date went to SM North early, to avoid the long line (and hopefully score some nice seats). However, as soon as the mall opened, to our surprise, the line for Gundam Unicorn's movie screening was already INSANELY LONG. Alot of fans were really excited to watch the film, like us, and so we had to wait out abit before we were let in.

Thankfully, we weren't too far off the line, hence we immediately went in and luckily we got to score some really great lazy-boy seats in front, and I LOVED IT!! :D

As soon as the movie started, the room erupted in applause and happy cheers from the crowd. The entire place was filled with so much gundam love, that it made watching the final episode on the big screen more worth it. :D The feeling reminded me of the first time I watched Rurouni Kenshin being screened here in the Philippines, where tons of fans are having such a great time, it was AMAZING! :D It was definitely an experience.

I can almost imagine everyone in the cinema
reacting this way, after watching epic moments in the film.
Without spoiling too much, I can say that the film was a completely satisfying conclusion to the Gundam Unicorn saga. It had alot of highs and some lows, with lots of emotional moments that made many fans weep (including me and my date) inside the theater.

To my surprise, my date had a blast watching the film, despite the fact she wasn't able to finish the first 6 episodes of the series (she only got to episode 3). And after watching episode 7, she was definitely a fan of the series that she wished she could've had money to buy herself an HG Gundam Unicorn or Banshee kit. :D To view more of her take of the event, you can visit her blogpost.

After the event, me and my date went straight to the Gundam Model Kit Competition (GMKC 2014 for short), and IT WAS SIMPLY GUNDAM HEAVEN.

And as seen on my previous blogpost, I showed my date the towering Gundam Banshee statue that was on display that day.

Obviously, she couldn't pass up the opportunity to have herself taken a picture with the statue. Infact, she wants to freakin hug the thing if not of the sign that tells her otherwise. XD

There were alot of people; both new and old fans alike, crowing the event. Because aside from the awesome gundam model kits that are on display, they also had a HUGE SALE on gundam model kits!!

Parents, kids, and kids-at-heart, all enjoying the awesome sale.
Number of people in the event area is insane!!
She REALLY wanted to get this kit. :D
Would love to add this to my collection one day. :D
Speaking of sales... remember on my previous blogpost where there was this one gundam model kit I was praying for, that it would still be available and on sale when I get back on May 18th? Well on my birthday, my prayers were answered!! :D

I was super worried I would never be able to buy this kit, due to the sale. Considering this was priced at Php7,000 and then they lowered the price down to Php3,500 (more cheaper than the ones sold on Greenhills), it was a pretty sweet deal IMHO. And yes, I'm very giddy and happy as a kid as soon as I bought the kit. BEST. BIRTHDAY GIFT. EVAR!! :D

However, that's not all. Upon purchasing the mega size model kit, I was given a free special edition Hobby Japan magazine. I didn't think about the magazine too much at first, however, as soon as I got home and opened the magazine I was surprised to see it in FULL ENGLISH!! :D

Kudos to Bandai, Toy Kingdom and Bankee trading for this wonderful freebie!! :D I hope this is a start of Bandai's improvement in terms of making an impact globally, as I would LOVE to see the day where Gundam model kits being distributed here in the Philippines are in full english, from the box to the manuals!! I highly encourage Bandai to do so. :D

As for the GMKC 2014 event itself, where I actually joined as a New Challenger in the Open Category, unfortunately I didn't win (there were simply alot of tough competitors). It was all good though as we got to meet after the event the head of Bankee Trading, Mr. Rodel (the official distributors of Gundam model kits in the Philippines) and the representative of Bandai from Japan, Mr. Oyama.

Thank you so much guys for having such an awesome event here in the Philippines!! We hope this is a start of more great things for local gundam fans. :D Overall, my birthday ended on a very epic note, as the next day, I got my cake... or make that CAKES.

THREE FREAKIN CAKES!! :D What an epic way to cap off my 31st birthday!! :D It's been an amazing experience for me, and I'm very thankful of how my birthday turned out this year. :D Looking forward to next year!! :D