Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Lady in Red: Misty/Kasumi

Yeah, I'm old
Misty from the Pokemon anime. Never would I have guessed my 100th blog post would be about Pokemon. I played Pokemon like all the kids did back then and I enjoyed it. I played Pokemon Red on my Yellow Game Boy Color. I of course picked Charamder. I played Blue and Yellow as well and I'm certain I completed the 150 Pokedex at least once. But that's it, when news of Gold and Silver arrived, I wasn't into it anymore. So I have no knowledge whatsoever of the succeeding generation of Pokemon aside from the original 150. The circumstances leading up to this post, when I think about, make sense after putting it all together.

This is how it happened according to my best recollection

October 10, 2014

My introduction back to the world of Pokemon started when my friend shared this amazingly well done parody of Mulan's "Make a man out of you" song.

I really cracked up at this hilariously accurate parody

Now that did not make me start looking at say Bulbapedia or Tumblr for more Pokemon stuff, but I believe the seeds were planted there.

November 13 - 16, 2014

I went to Osaka, Japan with said friend and another. On the last day, the two of us visited the Pokemon Center. I was truly baffled at the lines I saw for the arcade/card game machines. Pokemon is apparently still a big thing in Japan.
More exposure to Pokemon
December 13, 2014

At a college reunion Christmas party, karaoke was sung a lot. One of the songs was Lady in Red by Chris De Burgh. I was unfamiliar with it back then but enough of the tune and lyrics stuck with me for awhile.

December 26 - 31, 2014

I can't really remember the exact date but this much I remember.  I was lying in bed surfing with my phone, probably watching that parody video. Youtube sidebar showed a video of the scene in the episode Gotta Catch Ya Later where Misty and Brock parted ways with Ash. And this is where it all started.

Naturally, I was struck by Misty. I want to say old nostalgic feeling of her returned but there really wasn't much. I watched the anime but not too much. I remember the earlier episodes more clearly than the later ones, such as Pikachu defeating Onix and Lt. Surge's Raichu. But as far anime knowledge go, I had no idea who Tracy was. That means I stopped watching early and never really got to appreciate Misty growing up.

What is it about Misty that captivated me so? I believe at that time, I was ready to kind of latch on to a new thing, know what I mean? I was still watching toku but Toqger really didn't give me much to search for and I was looking for a different thing. Then came along this familiar redheaded spit fire mouth of a beloved anime and I just plunged into it.

It started slowly at first. Google Images here and there, Youtube search of tributes. Then I saw this picture in Bulbapedia

I was flabbergasted. She looks too amazing. The red Chinese dress, the earrings, bracelet on her left arm and ornamental ponytail all look perfect on her.

Because of that picture I discovered Tumblr and this account
I spent many happy hours browsing through the adorable screen caps, heartwarming fan arts and interesting commentaries. I was soaking it all up like a sponge and I was happy.

As I was browsing some more, I realized people can submit content to this tumblr and since I can't draw to save my life, I decided to submit a video. I started downloading the episodes and currently have all of the ones with Misty. The song I chose, you guessed it, that beautiful song I heard during karaoke. Once I remembered enough of the lyrics to Google search it, I was moved when I listened to Chris De Burgh sing it. It is a timeless classic and one I can sing along to anytime.  I actually sang it three times in karaoke over the course of two days during an excursion with my high school batch. I was so into it.

As I grew more familiar to the song, a problem dawned on me. The lyrics, while singing about a lady in a red dress, are being sung by the man the lady is dancing with. So I was forced to make it into a Pokeshipping video. Now I never knew the term Pokeshipping. I don't even know what the context of shipping meant until I read it on Tumblr. Then I realize I've been shipping long before I even knew the term existed. My very 1st shipping video was of Ben and Gwen Tennyson of Ben 10 way back when it was still airing. It progressed to La Corda eventually and one Maid Sama video.

Old and unignorable feelings started welling up inside of me. Well I guess I'm a hopeless romantic at heart because I felt inspired. I felt the need, the desire to make this video in my head a reality. This song is the perfect song for my envisioned video. It may not be the perfect Misty only video I originally wanted, but I love the song enough to make the best Pokeshipping video as I could. this Tumblr account provided me with all the important shipping moments.  It also led me to the Vivid Kids doujinshis. These things are some of the most heartwarming images I've seen in a while. I sincerely thank for scanning and sharing them. I would buy them if I could. I remember I obtaining them during New Year's Eve. As the fireworks exploded throughout the night, I was holding back tears and feeling my heart beating faster and faster as I browsed through the incredibly show accurate drawings of Chocolate Panic, Marine Girl, Orange Mail, Ready Go and Yumeirokibun.

A tumblr user
translated Chocolate Panic and Yumeirokibun. I'm sure that made a lot of people very happy. I was getting hit in feels so hard as I alternated between the pictures and the translation. I don't know how accurate it is but I'll take it.

The finished video is one I am proud of. I worked on it for a long time, making sure the timing is just right. When I watch it again, I feel I can make it better in some parts, especially the parts where it's mostly pictures telling the story but I'm satisfied. Many nights I went to bed racking my brain to remember and create the sequences of scene to fit into that particular lyric. I love that feeling, the feeling of wanting to start working on it because if you don't, your brain might forget that magical perfect scene forever.

So now I guess I'm a Pokehipper. In my mind it's not really fair since I never even watched the succeeding seasons and can't judge for myself how real the other ships are. I don't plan to follow the anime, just what I see on tumblr. I don't plan to start playing the games as well. I will say, out of the main Poke girls, Dawn is the one that stands out for me. She looks really pretty in her dresses. Her interactions with Ash are also really cute and I think of Pearlshipping as my second choice.  I have tried watching a bit of the Diamond & Pearl season but I could not stand the new voices. They just sound too different.
I really like her Hoenn outfit
The Pokemon fandom is such an active one. Everyday people still post and talk about episodes more than a decade old. The fan artists still lovingly draw their OTP's (learned that from tumblr) and I am amazed by their talent. Looking at the amount of effort and detail they put in their art, one can't help but feel and be inspired by it. I can admit I suck at drawing anything, but I am seriously considering trying my hand at drawing a shippy photo. My theme would be a bowling date. I have no idea if I will even attempt it but the desire is there.

What else is there to say? Checking Tumblr multiple times everyday has become my routine. I am filling up my external hard drive with Pokemon episodes to create some sappy love videos, and God help me I actually want to skim through every one of them to find adorable Misty scenes and make tribute videos. Misty opened up a new and exciting fandom for me to follow as well as becoming a source of inspiration for the long dormant artistic side of me. I know very well there is little to no chance of seeing her in the anime again. I plan to enjoy this ride for as long as it holds my interest, but seeing as how Misty fans and Pokeshippers never seem to run out of topics regarding her, I envision this will be a very long and interesting ride.

One last thing I want to share is the experience that made me want to write this blog post. I was playing with my dog when he jumped up and his teeth nicked me on my upper gum. Small scratch as it is, my mother insisted I go get an anti rabies shot. It was a grueling affair, having to go back to the public hospital 3 separate times and having to wait a minimum of 4 hours each time to get the shots. What kept me entertained throughout the ordeal was the planning of this video. Listening to Lady in Red over and over and running the scenes I thought matched up best in my mind, I enjoy the process.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

1 more before 100 (Status Update)

Something wonderful happened during the holidays last. A series of events led me to a new fascination coming into 2015. The reason I actually feel like writing again is because I want to try and see if I could accurately describe what I felt during that period into words. The extreme feelings of that time has subsided considerably but I am thankful for it. This will be the topic for my 100th blog entry.

Hello 99th blog entry. I shall now rant. 

I still watch Sentai and Rider. Only through the sheer convenience of having a smartphone capable of downloading torrents was I able to finish Toqger. I was surprised at myself for finishing it since I tried watching Go-Buster but I could not regularly watch. This was before I had a smartphone though, if I had one at the time, I probably would have watched all the way through. But with Gaim, I had a smartphone and was watching from ep 1. But when Michi turned into Ryugen, I outright stopped caring. It was the absurd light hearted storyline that did it for (fighting for territorial right to dance) Gaim thankfully got better, a lot better as a lot would agree. 

Ok what was I initially talking about? Toqger right.  I tolerated it. The cast grew on me eventually. Akira especially, He was definitely the Ucchi of the show. I loved the bathhouse centric episode with Kagura. The rest of it though is just so... bland. I don't really know what else to say about the story. The color change gimmick was really weird. I enjoyed the novelty of seeing a female red and a pink male but it really didn't add much. They even stopped using it in the latter parts.  The villains design is praised and I agree. Madame Noir is an eye catching design and Zed's monster form reminds me of Dante's Devil Trigger. Grita though can disappear forever and no one will care, seriously, I was so happy when Zed finally absorbed her.

Speaking of Dante, due to the announcement of DMC4 Special Edition, I installed DMC4 again and remembered why I uninstalled it in the 1st place. I get hooked too easily. Having access to Dante's 4 styles plus the Dark Slayer Style and the ability to freely change it anytime in game just open up a ton of possibilities and massive replay value. I am considering getting it once it comes out and I hope it lives up to its hype. I am ready to immerse myself in it again 4 months from now.

My toy collection has stalled. Red sentai figuarts are my main interest and it seems Bandai wants to focus on other franchises for the moment. I'm not too disappointed, I enjoy getting new toys to add but it's not like I need every single release. I do have Vul Eagle on the way to update my red sentai collection.  I also have Kamen Rider Drive and Armored Rider Marika ordered. I just fell for Marika, guess my weakness is pink hehe. Drive is a really nice design and coming of the heels of the massively praised Gaim figuarts, it's safe to assume he will come out okay, unlike Wizard.

Ninninger is 3 episodes old. I am not feeling the cast so far. Ever since I saw their faces, I felt no excitement. Also the 1st episode feels like they are trying too hard to be flashy.  It's like after the blandness of Toqger, this new sentai has to have all this flashy effects and cool poses. The suits are cool enough, don't try too hard.  I want this to be successful because I would really love to own figuarts of these guys. White female senshis are so rare, I was really happy to see one when the team was revealed. I was more overly ecstatic when I realized the team had a white and pink, I was blown away that day. 

Last thing, I've been toying with the idea of buying a Kiryu Monsterart for some time. The price though at the local stores are a bit too steep for me. 

I guess that's it, I feel inspired enough to really pour effort for my 100th blog entry. I hope it meets my expectations, I do want it to be well written enough that I can read it later in life and recall those once in a lifetime feelings.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Series Review

Hey all, it's been 6 months. Things have been chugging along and I just don't have that much to say about the current tokusatsu. But since my birthday is coming up and I always make it a point to post something on that day, I don't really know why, here are my thoughts on Kamen Rider Gaim. Also it's cool that my birth month coincides with the new Rider show.

I was 10% interested in Gaim when it started. I gave it a chance. I liked the samurai theme since I really enjoy toku sword fight scenes. I continued till the episode where Micchy became an armored rider and I spotted right there.  I wasn't feeling the whole dancing plot. And when I saw all those other riders showing up (Baron, Bravo, Gridon), I really wasn't interested anymore.

But then news came out of a PINK female rider. I couldn't resist. I love pink warriors. So I started watching again but I did revisit the old episodes. Until now, I don't really know what they were about, maybe I'll check it out later. With the arrival of the Genesis Drivers as heralded a very nice upgrade, the Kachidoki Arms. I gotta say, it was the bomb to watch this form dish out the pain. I like the form so much I might consider buying the figuart. Kiwami isn't too bad but I'm disappointed it didn't come with its own special weapon. It just reuses old weapons and uses the DJ Matlock gun for its finisher just like Kachidoki.
I love this form and weapon

Radiant Mai

The story by this time transitioned to a more serious tone. I gotta say, to make me more interested in the story than the fight scenes is rare.  All the betrayals, revelations, triumphs and defeats just meshed perfectly and constantly moved the story forward at a lightning pace.

This series caught me and probably everyone else off guard on how good it turned to be. It was a joy watching this amazing drama coupled with armored rider fight scenes.  Amazing how a show with a childish concept could gradually transform into a darker story, all the while incorporating various real world legends into its own.

Drive has a lot to live up to.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Series Review

Kyoryuger is the 2nd sentai I have followed through its entire run.  Now that it has finished at a surprisingly low 48 episodes, what can I say about?  Well, since I stuck with it for a whole year, I undoubtedly like it.  This brought back elements that were missing from its predecessor Go-Buster.  It had a lot of roll calls for one, and they were very entertaining.  Go-Buster’s roll call was unspectacular at best.  I understand why but part of the fun of sentai for me is a good old fashioned roll call when the team finally gets together to kick ass, coupled with the theme music and a united shout of their team name.   Going hand in hand with the roll call are the suits.  When they were revealed, I had absolutely no negative thoughts.  I was ecstatic that there was no yellow.  It was a bold move and I loved it.  I can’t say they have the best looking suits but definitely not the worst or even the near the middle.  They look nice and that always helps when I watch.  
For the story, it’s an accept it and move along story.  This big blue bird monster recruits a homeless drifter to be a Kyoryuger cause he’s brave.  Fine, whatever.  Let’s get on with it.  For the heroes, I can say I don’t really hate a single one that much that I find their focus episode boring.  King is the ultimate strong good guy and spouts out encouragement a lot.  Ian is a playboy jerk with a heart of gold.  Nossan has a weird sense of humor but a strong sense of justice.  Souji has awesome sword fights and matures throughout the series.  Amy was a very bold pink warrior, a worthy successor to the legacy of female warriors.  Utchy was a powerful warrior with the innocence of a child.  Ramires was a cool character played by a foreigner.  Tessai was a jerk at 1st but had an awesome focus episode near the end that showcased his humorous side.  Yayoi was the shy girl who found the strength to be awesome.  Torin was a good mentor, genuinely caring for the humans.  Dantetsu was a mystery for most of the series but eventually became a Kyoryuger as well.

I will miss this sentai for the nice suits, the roll calls and the cast.  It was really enjoyable and a blast to watch. Tokkyuger is just around the corner. 

So what follows are screenshots from each episode with some words below.

Nice 1st ep.  Obviously allotted a lot of the budget for it.

I thought I was gonna get a dancing mecha, I was mistaken.

I admit to holding whatever sword like object like this after this ep.  It’s a good one.
This is the awesome roll call scene I talked about up there.
I am liking how Green fights more and more, also a really funny roll call

I loved the pink suit from the moment I laid my eyes on it and ep is full of it!

This was certainly a memorable scene

One of the less memorable eps, really got nothing else so have this

I felt it was a little too early for the 6th but this was a pretty nice build up ep
This was one of the best intro for an extra ranger

Pink and the cool Gold ranger focus ep! Yes, there are a lot of awesome moments in this one!

As much as I like Gold joining, I think the real show stopper was the mecha battle this ep

I love how Green fights so this ep is a real treat to watch!

Pink focus but not much suit action, also Gold just solo killed the MOTW.

Past mechas only had a finisher like this to rely on. Nowadays it’s pick your finisher

Hmm, look at where Daigo’s staring at.

Grey just doesn’t look that good as a color

So they got two dead warriors helping them out from the side, isn’t that cheating?
This line is just too funny!

This is that encouragement I was talking about

This guy was crazy, crazily entertaining!

Here’s where the writers started shipping with Pink and Red. Good or bad move?

Daigo gets all the girls, lucky bastard.
I will always welcome a female warrior, the only thing I’m not feeling are those flippers behind the helmet.

A blatant rip off of Nightmare on Elm.  Humorous roll call though

Abaranger did it 1st
We’re gonna be seeing this a lot.  Not that bad but not that good
I’ve got nothing to say except look how dirty the suit gets
This is the real highlight. The rest is staring at a toy and how it works.

This ep is about the two guys with Amy thrown in and ushers in a new arc
This is getting crazy, but a smart move by the bad guys
A friend of mine asked me once why they cluster around a cannon finisher, this actually tries to explain it.
I really like Utchy
I really got nothing unique here

The chanting was really weird this ep
I wonder what that stain is. Also, the suit actor for silver seems a little bigger than the rest.
This is a really fun episode.  After all the serious stuff, it’s a blast to watch.
I really like this ep.  Tessai got some great and memorable scenes. His theme music is awesome as well.
Now this is the true spirit of sentai!  Colorful suits all together, with background music and explosions.
Is that King Ghidorah from Godzilla?
I love the Spirit Ranger humor!
Great Christmas present having all ten again so soon.
I wouldn’t mind getting his Figuart. 
Very nice 3 way attack
In this ep, stuff starts happening

I gotta admit, though I wish it was something else, I was touched by this ep.
I don’t care if there’s one more, this was the finale this series deserved!
Goodbye King! It was a lot of fun but I’m kinda sick of you.